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Chapter 7

This chapter describes the mission, proponency, network, and doctrinal precepts of the morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) programs and such community support programs as the American Red Cross (ARC), family support, and the exchange system.


The mission of the MWR program is to improve unit readiness by promoting fitness, building morale and cohesion, enhancing quality of life, and providing recreational, social, and other support services for soldiers, civilians, and their families.

The community support programs include the ARC, family support, and the exchange system. During mobilization and deployment, the ARC provides emergency communication and case management services to support the health, welfare, and morale of the Armed Forces and their families. It gives forward-deployed units a direct link to their families during family emergencies.

The mission of family support programs is to foster total Army family readiness, as mission accomplishment is directly linked to soldiers' confidence that their families are safe and capable of carrying on during their absence. The exchange system provides basic health, hygiene, and personal care needs to soldiers and Army civilians.


During peacetime, the scope of MWR includes sports activities, recreation centers, libraries, clubs, bowling centers, golf centers, outdoor recreation, arts and crafts, and entertainment. During war and operations other than war (OOTW), the MWR network provides services to the theater of operations. These services are in the form of unit recreation, library book kits, sports programs, and rest areas at brigade level and higher. These activities and services are staffed by military and civilian MWR personnel. The MWR network also provides facilities such as unit lounges, recreation centers with snack bars, and activity centers for soldiers that house a number of MWR functions. The facilities provided by the MWR network depend on the theater/corps command policies and the operational/tactical situation.


The ARC consistently delivers essential Red Cross services to active duty military, National Guard, reservists, Army civilians, and their families worldwide in order to assist them in preventing, preparing for, and coping with emergency situations.

All requests for ARC personnel to accompany U.S. Forces into a theater of operations during war or OOTW must be forwarded to the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center, Family Support Directorate (USACFSC-FS) which is the DoD executive agent for the deployment of ARC personnel during these situations.

USACFSC-FS is responsible for coordinating and securing support for ARC personnel to support military operations, managing and monitoring military support to the ARC, funding travel to and from the theater of operations for ARC personnel, and coordinating and preparing ARC personnel for deployment and return. The ARC national headquarters, is responsible for supplying the staff and managing and monitoring ARC operations in the field.

A designated ARC representative will be involved with the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center (USACFSC), the appropriate military command, and the ARC national headquarters in the contingency planning to ensure proper coordination and clarification of requirements. In the theater of operations, coordination for Red Cross support falls under the G1. ARC representatives are available at division and higher levels to assist with family emergencies and emergency communication between family members and deployed personnel. A model of the ARC network is at Figure 7-1.


The chain of command helps soldiers and civilians solve personal problems and communicate with their families through the family support system. Departure of soldiers during war or OOTW creates substantial stress on soldiers and their family members throughout the period of separation. The morale of both the soldier and the family has a significant impact on soldier performance.

Families of deploying personnel are provided all possible services to which they are entitled by the sustaining base/rear detachment. Services include pre-deployment briefings/readiness checks (wills, allotments, family care plans, insurance), frequent family briefings, survival skills training (stress management, problem solving, household and auto maintenance), and the family assistance center (counseling, DEERS enrollment, legal, information and referral, and ACSs). These services may need to be expanded to the families of soldiers in the USAR and ARNG who have been called to active duty. DA Pamphlet 608-47, A Guide to Establishing Family Support Groups, provides more detailed information.

Historical Perspective

"As the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) prepared for deployment to Southwest Asia, the G1/AG and DPCA combined efforts to establish a Family Assistance Center (FAC) to enable soldiers and family members to receive one-stop personnel, financial, logistical, legal, and pastoral support. The FAC was used extensively throughout the division's deployment to conduct briefings for family members regarding the various updates issued by the Chain of Concern. The pre-deployment support and continual briefings served to allay much of the frustration and anxiety during the uncertain times of late 1990 and 1991."


A board of directors that includes senior Army and Air Force leaders directs AAFES operations worldwide. The system supports major installations in CONUS, overseas, and units deployed to remote areas. It also supports field operations and exercises. The Army provides materiel, facilities, transportation, field site support, and some personnel for AAFES operations.

During war and OOTW, the theater command in coordination with AAFES plans for and supports exchange operations. These plans may include a combination of direct retail operations, Tactical Field Exchanges (TFEs), and AAFES Imprest Funds Activities (AIFAs).

AAFES deploys personnel to assist the Army in establishing direct retail operations and an exchange warehousing and distribution system. The theater Army DCSPER and corps G1 coordinate with the theater Army DCSLOG and corps G4 in the process of designating, training, deploying, and employing Army and Air Force personnel to support the theater AAFES system. Preferably, these personnel have Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) experience in managing supplies, warehousing, distribution, and/or retail operations. AAFES may establish these activities using AAFES employees, contract operators, host nation employees, third country national employees, or vendors.

TFEs are military operated exchanges designated to provide merchandise and services on a temporary basis in areas where permanent exchange activities are not present. TFEs serve soldiers and civilians, and they may locate as far forward as the brigade support area and tactical situation allow. They are manned by DeCA personnel or detailed military personnel.

AIFA is a military-operated retail activity, usually operated in small or remote sites, when regular direct operation exchanges cannot be provided. Should commanders choose to employ AIFA they must select and train personnel from their units to operate these activities. The unit is issued an initial fund by AAFES to purchase a beginning inventory. Money generated from sales is used to replenish the merchandise stock. A site commander can request the establishment of an AIFA from the general manager of the AAFES geographical area. An AIFA is operated basically the same as a TFE with the exception that the unit is accountable and responsible for the merchandise that it purchased.

Historical Perspective

"During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, AAFES staffed 15 large exchange facilities, setting up 30 food outlets including Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlors and Pizza Inns, and 11 barbershops, and it supplied the 200-plus field exchanges operated in the war zone by soldiers, airmen, and Marines. Merchandise available at the end of hostilities amounted to 34 million dollars located in various warehouses."


The functional proponent for morale, welfare, and recreation and community support is the USACFSC. AAFES is the proponent for exchange publications. The following regulations provide policies and procedures for managing MWR, the American Red Cross, family support, and the exchange system:

  • AR 5-3, Installation Management and Organization.
  • AR 60-10, AAFES General Policies.
  • AR 60-20, AAFES Operating Policies.
  • AR 215-1, Administration of Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation Activities and Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities.
  • AR 215-3, Nonappropriated Funds Personnel Policies and Procedures.
  • AR 215-4, Nonappropriated Fund Contracting.
  • AR 215-5, Nonappropriated Fund Accounting Policy and Reporting Procedures.
  • AR 600-20, Army Command Policy.
  • AR 608-1, Army Community Service and Family Support.
  • AR 608-10, Child Development Services.
  • AR 608-18, The Army Family Advocacy Program.
  • AR 930-4, Army Emergency Relief.
  • AR 930-5, American National Red Cross Service Program and Army Utilization.
  • DA Cir 608-93-1, The Army Family Action Plan X.
  • DA Pam 350-21, Family Fitness Handbook.
  • DA Pam 360-525, Family Assistance Handbook for Mobilization.
  • DA Pam 608-43, A Guide to Family Member Predeployment Briefings.
  • DA Pam 608-47, A Guide to Establishing a Family Support Group.


MWR is a mission-essential activity. During war and OOTW it will be funded by mission dollars. Commanders at all levels are responsible for the morale, welfare, and recreation support provided for their soldiers and civilians. They are responsible for determining different levels of required support based on the mission, anticipated duration of deployment, theater environmental conditions, and higher command requirements. Commanders must be able to quickly revise plans, programming, and support levels to adapt to changing situations and requirements.

Operational plans must include requirements for fitness and recreation, exchange activities, and community support functions such as ARC. The S1/G1 staffs at brigade through corps/theater levels must be aware of requirements and coordinate with appropriate war planners and staff counterparts such as the S4/G4 for logistical support. Civilian recreation staff may be available to assist in the planning and execution of necessary support services. However, staff responsibility for this area of support in deployment situations remains an S1/G1 function whether civilian recreation staff are available or not. Military S1/G1 staffs must plan and be prepared to execute all necessary actions to ensure timely and effective support.

Commanders may identify appropriate civilian positions on the installation mobilization table of distribution and allowances (MTDA) to be prepared to deploy into the theater of operations to support recreation requirements. Civilian MWR personnel are battle-rostered to the staffs of brigade and larger-sized units. These personnel will be part of the S1/G1 staffs and will plan and coordinate MWR activities prior to and during mobilization. They will also deploy with the unit to accomplish brigade and higher staff MWR responsibilities and assist the unit MWR coordinators (military personnel) in planning and executing their MWR programs.

USACFSC may also provide civilian fitness and recreation staff from other installations. Commanders should establish and validate requirements on their MTDA for battle-rostered civilian positions. The USACFSC maintains a roster of volunteer civilian recreators to meet fitness and recreation needs during deployment situations. If installation staff cannot meet the needs of deployed elements, the theater commander may request assistance from USACFSC to fill situational needs.

Company and battalion commanders, with guidance from civilian MWR personnel, develop detailed lists of MWR equipment and supplies to support unit-level recreation programs and activities. Requirements include such items as athletic equipment, recreational items, and small game kits. These items are part of the unit basic load. Commanders must include shipment with the higher headquarters lift plan.

Commanders at all levels must be sensitive to conditions external to the theater that can affect morale. In emergency cases, ARC representatives inside and outside the theater of operations can support communications between soldiers, civilians, and their families. Under less compelling conditions, commanders may use other means. For example, commanders may send messages through official channels such as the military affiliate radio system, facsimile transceiver, commercial telephone, or the Army mail system.

For planning purposes, the following guidelines establish a time-phased schedule for deploying MWR resources to support a war and OOTW. Actual timelines and operations will be based on METT-T.

C TO C+30

During the first 30 days of operation, MWR may be limited to unit athletic and recreation (A&R) kits and health and comfort packs (HCPs) as part of the units' basic load. This initial phase prepares units for deployment into a theater of operations. The installation Director of Personnel and Community Activities (DPCA) provides book kits to deploying units. MWR coordinators at brigade, battalion, and company level are responsible for unit recreation requirements and for ensuring unit A&R equipment and small game kits accompany unit deployment. Examples of kits, load plans and HCPs are listed in Appendix E.

Division and corps assemble and move prepacked brigade and battalion MWR kits. (See Appendix E.) The theater Army DCSPER and/or the corps G1 establishes a network for distributing and rotating AAFES-provided films and video tapes. AAFES begins transporting exchange items and coordinates with theater/corps for transportation, storage, and distribution support. Defense Personnel Support Center (DPSC) sends additional health and comfort packs to arrive by C+30.

Civilian recreation specialists deploy to the theater as early as the situation permits and theater commander requests. This may be as early as the initial C to C+30 time frame. If conditions do not permit or the theater commander does not request deployment of civilians, military staffs must be prepared to establish and maintain support.

C+30 TO C+60

Conditions permitting, the theater commander may authorize brigade recreation personnel establish a time-phased schedule for deploying theater clearance to develop, coordinate, and manage recreation programming. The battalion/brigade MWR kits containing fragile, bulky, and heavy items arrive in the theater for distribution. Examples are television sets, VCRs, basketball goals, and free weights.

As soon as possible after C+30, the corps G1 coordinates rest areas which are managed by designated DA civilians and manned by soldiers. These rest areas provide MWR support and field exchange services within division and corps rear areas. Theater Army DCSPER and the corps G1 develop policies for rest area use.

The civilian MWR personnel at division-size organizations assist units, expedite programs, and provide oversight for programs and resources. The corps G1 coordinates with the G4 for distributing HCPs with class I supplies to units and individuals lacking access to exchange or host nation retail facilities. See Appendix E for additional information.

In coordination with the theater logistical personnel, AAFES establishes a base of operations and distribution centers which support TFE and AAFES imprest fund activities (if units choose to establish them).

The theater Army DCSPER and the corps G1 coordinate with USACFSC for the following: a system for distribution of unit funds, coordination with the Armed Forces Professional Entertainment Office for live entertainment, coordination for additional civilian MWR personnel, and book kits to units at C+30 and every 30 days thereafter.

Theater Army and corps staffs provide oversight and services such as financial management, procurement, contracting, warehousing, and distribution.

C+60 TO C+120

Supply channels will stock MWR items on their common table of allowances (CTA). MWR supplies and equipment will be ordered by and shipped to unit DoD activity address codes (DODAACs) or to a theater MWR DODAAC.

Examples are weights, amusement machines, lounge and entertainment equipment, and other items for unit recreation and rest area operations.

The theater and/or corps base of operations expands to provide one or more prepackaged (Force Provider) rest areas developed to meet the needs of a brigade-size unit. Actual timelines and operations will be based on METT-T. This package provides recreational activities, AAFES retail outlets and vendors, and personnel services support such as postal, finance, legal, chaplain, and American Red Cross services. Other services available are billeting, laundry, latrine, shower, food, and medical.

The support package's primary mission is to provide rest and relief facilities for soldiers who have suffered stresses associated with combat duties. The location of this support package will be in the corps and division rear area. Secondarily, it provides a capability to support reception, humanitarian, and disaster relief missions.

Theater Army coordinates with DA DCSPER Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management (ACSIM) and the USACFSC for establishing a rest and recuperation (R&R) center outside the theater of operations. Theater Army and subordinate commands develop and implement R&R policies. Live entertainment, to include USO shows, becomes available based on availability, theater policy, and the tactical situation. Commands may establish clubs at the rest area or other fixed sites.


During redeployment, operations consolidate or close as the number of personnel supported decreases. Commanders ensure adequate support for residual forces. Theater Army and corps staffs establish and implement policies for equipment turn-in and redeployment. Resource accountability is critical during this phase to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse. Rest areas and R&R centers request disposition of equipment and supplies from the USACFSC.


Commanders at all levels are responsible for the MWR support provided for their soldiers and civilians. MWR activities are found at all echelons on the battlefield and in all scenarios. MWR requirements are based on the combat environment and availability of resources. Battalions and below self-administer their programs using their unit MWR coordinators (military personnel); brigade and above utilize their civilian MWR personnel. The civilian MWR personnel assist all units in planning and executing their MWR programs. MWR activities involve both managing programs such as recreation activities and monitoring or coordinating morale-related programs such as exchange services. The following paragraphs address the relationship between key players and other staff elements in MWR. Figure 7-2 depicts MWR functions and tasks.


The Bn S1/MWR coordinator (additional duty for military) has the following MWR responsibilities:

  • Coordinate with the battalion S4 to ensure that soldiers and civilians deploy with a 30-day supply of HCPs.
  • Determine the type and quantity of HCPs carried by individual soldiers.
  • Prepare an equipment/supply list, and plan for unit MWR activities prior to deployment.
  • Prepare pre-positioned requisitions for MWR A&R equipment through home station supply channels.
  • Requisition for book kits at the sustaining base or mobilization station.
  • Ensure units include MWR equipment and book kits in their basic load plans.
  • Appoint unit MWR coordinators (military) to coordinate activities and maintain equipment.
  • Use Army Master Fitness Trainers (when available) to plan and conduct unit physical fitness programs.
  • Plan for AIFAs that are established and operated by unit soldiers.
  • Schedule soldiers and civilians for R&R periods.
  • Coordinate establishment and operation of soldier activity centers, recreation activities, exchanges, and unit lounges.
  • Coordinate unit athletic and recreation programs to include acquisition, use, and maintenance of equipment/supplies.


Brigades may deploy with a civilian MWR person whose duty is to facilitate and coordinate MWR activities. The brigade S1/civilian MWR person (battle-rostered civilian) have the following MWR responsibilities:

  • Ensure the brigade plans for the deployment of civilian MWR personnel.
  • Ensure commanders appoint MWR coordinators at battalion and company level as an additional duty.
  • Plan for AIFAs that are established and operated by commands, using unit personnel.
  • Plan for and prepare pre-positioned requisitions; procure and arrange the deployment of bulkier, heavier, and more breakable items such as free weights, large screen TVs, computer games or other items for soldier recreation and relaxation.
  • Schedule unit personnel and civilians for R&R periods.
  • Coordinate establishment and operation of soldier activity centers, recreation activities, exchanges, and unit lounges.
  • Coordinate unit athletic and recreation programs to include acquisition, use, and maintenance of equipment/supplies.


The division G1/civilian MWR personnel (battle-rostered civilians) have the following MWR responsibilities:

  • Coordinate with the G-4 to ensure brigade and battalion MWR kits are included in load plans.
  • Plan for AIFAs that are established and operated by commands, using unit soldiers.
  • Schedule unit personnel and civilians for R&R periods.
  • Request and plan transportation for a 30-day supply of book kits from USACFSC/DA DCSPER/ACSIM to be issued to units 30 days after deployment.
  • Coordinate the distribution of MWR kits containing fragile, bulky, and heavy items such as large TVs, VCRs, projectors, and free weights.
  • Coordinate delivery of HCPs with the S4/G4 to individuals and units operating without exchange facilities.
  • Coordinate corps-provided rest facilities in the division area.
  • Provide civilian MWR personnel who serve as liaison with theater and assist units in planning operations, training, and logistics.
  • Coordinate Army Band activities.
  • Establish division policy, and coordinate support to include MWR and transportation.
  • Coordinate establishment and operation of brigade-and battalion-level soldier activity areas and unit lounges.
  • Coordinate MWR support team activities. Coordinate family assistance and communication with rear detachments.


The corps G1/civilian MWR personnel (battle-rostered civilians) have the following MWR responsibilities:

  • Plan for manning of AIFAs that are established and operated by commands, using unit soldiers.
  • Provide corps-level MWR civilian personnel to assist divisions and below in establishing A&R activities, operating unit lounges and exchange facilities, acquiring and transporting equipment/supplies, and accounting for equipment and monies.
  • Establish in-theater rest areas, normally collocated with replacement and reconstitution areas.
  • Request and plan transportation for a 30-day supply of book kits from USACFSC/DA DCSPER/ACSIM to be issued to units 30 days after deployment.
  • Support self-administered activities in division-size and smaller units.
  • Establish MWR policy, and monitor/support corps-level MWR activities for divisional and non-divisional units in the corps area.
  • Establish corps rest areas; assist subordinate commands in operating soldier activity centers and lounges; and coordinate MWR services with replacement and reconstitution operations.
  • Coordinate training for MWR program personnel through the MACOMs or theater.
  • Monitor and support MWR-related activities.
  • Provide civilian MWR personnel to assist subordinate commands in planning and assisting in MWR tasks.


The theater DCSPER/civilian MWR personnel (battle-rostered civilians) have the following MWR responsibilities:

  • Plan for deployment of civilian MWR personnel to coordinate, develop, and manage MWR programs.
  • In coordination with USACFSC/DA DCSPER/ACSIM, DCSLOG, and MACOMs of deploying units, prepare plans to support the theater with MWR manpower, materiel, and other assistance needed.
  • Prepare theater MWR policies and procedures and the base of operations to support units, soldiers, and civilians.
  • Coordinate with USACFSC, ACSIM and the DA DCSPER to establish R&R centers.
  • Coordinate with other military services for joint recreational operations.
  • Coordinate with USACFSC/DA, DCSPER/ACSIM, and MACOMs to requisition and transport MWR equipment and supplies.
  • Establish a system to allocate, distribute, and maintain equipment.
  • Establish a network for distribution and rotation of films and video tapes from AAFES or other services.
  • Set policy on volunteer or contracted live entertainment for soldiers and civilians in the theater.
  • Develop plans and policies for the establishment and support of unit lounge activities.
  • With assistance from USACFSC/DA DCSPER/ACSIM, and DCSLOG, arrange a system for procurement, transporting, accounting, training, and technical assistance to subordinate units.
  • With assistance from USACFSC/DA DCSPER/ACSIM, establish policy, arrange manning, and develop an operational support system for club operations.
  • With assistance from AAFES and the theater Army DCSLOG, plan for manning and support for PX sales and services at troop-supported tactical field exchanges or direct retail operations in the communications zone (COMMZ).
  • Support self-administered activities in division-size and smaller units.
  • Coordinate the supply and distribution of HCPs in the theater.
  • Alert the command and support agencies of delivery system problems.
  • Coordinate transportation for MWR kits.
  • Monitor reading material availability in the theater.
  • Support public affairs initiatives for supplying radio and television services.


Installation/sustaining base commanders maintain MWR, ARC, family support, and exchange activities throughout the operational continuum. Activities are based on the needs of the particular community served. They are available to military personnel and their families and usually to civilians and their families during wartime and operations other than war.

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