A family enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program enjoys holiday activities at Fort George G. Meade, Md., during a party on Dec. 12, 2023.

A family enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program enjoys holiday activities at Fort George G. Meade, Md., during a party on Dec. 12, 2023. (Gloriann Martin/U.S. Army)

The Army centralized the stationing process to one office for all soldiers involved in the Exceptional Family Member Program to improve the service’s ability to place soldiers in locations that can meet the specialized medical or educational needs of their family members.

The office opened March 22 and is charged with implementation of the program and will coordinate health care services, permanent change of station order processing and family support services, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth announced Thursday.

Previously, the station assignment for these soldiers occurred within the human resources branch of their occupational specialty.

“The foundation of Army readiness depends on taking care of our soldiers and families,” Wormuth said in a statement. “Each Army family is unique, and the EFMP Central Office will provide tailored support for over 40,000 families enrolled in EFMP.”

The program is a mandatory enrollment program for any soldier who has a family member with a special need, such as a medical condition or physical or developmental disability or requires special education in school. Program staff then work with other military and civilian agencies to provide comprehensive and coordinated community support, housing, educational, medical and personnel services to enrolled families.

The Air Force conducted a similar restructuring of its EFMP into a central office more than a year ago.

Austin Carrigg, CEO of Exceptional Families of the Military, an advocacy organization, said he hopes the Army’s central office will be a place families can turn to when they can’t find care at the location to which they are moving or at the location where they are now stationed.

“That being said, at Exceptional Families of the Military, we have seen firsthand Air Force EFMP families continuing to struggle,” said Carrigg, who is an Army spouse with a child enrolled in the program. “The Army has been fairly tight-lipped about how families will access the Army [central EFMP office], and if there will be an appeal process that families can initiate without local command [or] installation approval. We need reliable access and more transparency with the process.”

The Army’s central office staff also will review complex cases referred to them from installations, according to the service, and will focus on advocacy for EFMP families at the Pentagon.

“EFMP-support agencies at the installation level are well postured to assist families, but when a support agency or family member needs additional assistance to find the right resources, the EFMP Central Office team members are there to help,” said Lt. Gen Kevin Vereen, deputy chief of staff for G-9, which advises the Army’s assistant secretary for installations, energy and environment.

The Army recommends families first work through their local family services office known as Army Community Service or military treatment facility professionals if they encounter problems. To escalate concerns, soldiers and families can contact the central office at All correspondence must include the local military treatment facility and military personnel division location.

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Rose L. Thayer is based in Austin, Texas, and she has been covering the western region of the continental U.S. for Stars and Stripes since 2018. Before that she was a reporter for Killeen Daily Herald and a freelance journalist for publications including The Alcalde, Texas Highways and the Austin American-Statesman. She is the spouse of an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her awards include a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Washington Dateline Award and an Honorable Mention from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her coverage of crime at Fort Hood.

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