Revised Command Sponsorship Program Policy in Korea (Sharp Point # 29-10)

YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- 1. Every member of the command is vital to mission success; however, because of our limited infrastructure, Command Sponsorship in Korea can only be offered to about one-third of the over 14,000 Service members with families. To be sure we use this limited CS most effectively, I charged the CSP Task Force to determine the modifications needed to ensure the CSP meets our mission needs and is fair, consistent, predictable, and transparent. In doing so, the TF developed a policy to ensure CS is available to Service members who occupy duty positions where continuity would most improve mission readiness. This revised policy meets commanders' mission readiness and continuity requirements by aligning CS into three prioritized categories, providing the commanders flexibility to meet mission requirements most effectively, while improving the quality of life for Service members and their families.

2. The United States Forces Korea Regulation 614-1, Military Command Sponsorship Program, has been updated and is available for review on the USFK website. Since all positions cannot be command sponsored at this time, we had to prioritize positions to ensure we meet mission readiness and continuity requirements. The revised policy provides a systematic method of allocating CS among three categories: Priority 1 (Key Billets), Priority 2 (Component Commander Mission Continuity Requirements), and Priority 3 (Component Commander-Managed CS billets). Each Service performed a detailed analysis of all its positions in Korea and determined where it is most important to have Service members on longer tours to ensure overall mission readiness and continuity requirements are met. In order to achieve this goal, the priority 1 and 2 CS positions encompass approximately 90% of the CS allocations.

3. Priority 1 includes key billets which are so vital to the mission we mandate Service members serve 24-month tours whether they bring their families or not. These positions are approved by higher headquarters and we have not made any modifications to Priority 1 billets. We established a Priority 2 category to improve mission readiness/ continuity. The number and specific type of positions are determined by unit commanders, approved by Component commanders, and vary by Service, location and unit. To further clarify, the Priority 2 category includes those military jobs from which commanders benefit the most by having personnel stay for 24- and 36-month tours, such as Service members in key leadership positions, those requiring lengthy pre- or post-arrival training or certification to perform their jobs in Korea, or low density/hard-to-fill skill sets. Commanders will fill remaining Priority 3 positions at their discretion, with the flexibility to consider factors such as recent deployments, dual military or single military families, those serving consecutive overseas tours, as well as junior Service member opportunities. The Navy and Marine CS opportunities are aligned to specific positions, which are centrally managed by their respective service centers and are based on available allocations by location.

4. Because of current infrastructure limitations and the fact that all USFK areas are at or near CS capacity, CSP allocations must be managed closely and synchronized with mission requirements until we achieve full tour normalization. As a result, the CSP management authority for an organization will be delegated to the appropriate command level no lower than the grade of O-6. As we move through this transition, we will begin using the priority categories to align most of the available CS opportunities to Priority 2 personnel. The realignment to meet mission readiness and continuity requirements will affect the availability of CS for the Priority 3 personnel currently on the waiting list. Given the projected flow of inbound and outbound personnel, it may take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to reset the CSP to redistribute the majority of the CS opportunities to the Priority 2 category.

5. By Dec. 10, commanders will conduct town hall meetings and commanders' calls to explain the revised policy, answer your questions, and provide detailed information on Priority 1, 2 and 3 categories. In addition, each respective chain of command will contact every member on the waiting list to discuss how these changes impact them and the options that are available for them and their families. We'll also announce changes by way of AFN, newspaper articles, and the USFK Command Sponsorship website, as well as specific information on service component websites.

6. Because of the great quality of life and a desire for families to remain together at a time when many have been separated, more and more Service members want to come to Korea and more and more families want to accompany them. I appreciate your continued patience during this transition as we implement the revised CSP policy on our way to full tour normalization in Korea. We will continue to pursue the required funding and infrastructure to expand CS opportunities as quickly as we can.