WASHINGTON, D.C. - All the support programs in the world won't do any good if no one knows about them, so the Defense Department's principal director for military community and family policy started the office's new "eMagazine."
"What I found when I came up here was they have great programs and so forth, but they didn't tell people what was available," said Arthur Myers, who assumed his post in January. "So we started with a weekly activity report. That had such great response I said, 'Let's do a magazine where we can show all of our activities.'"
The eMagazine made its debut April 1. Originally slated to be a quarterly publication, the new magazine got such a great response, Myers said, that he already has decided to adjust the production schedule. The next edition will publish June 1.
The content for each eMagazine will largely depend on the time of the year, he added.
"This is the Month of the Military Child, so you want to focus on that," Myers said. "As issues come up, that's what we decide to put on there."
With links to the office's programs and activities, the eMagazine will focus on different issues, including a new campaign for exceptional family members. It also will focus on areas of continuous interest to military members and their families.
For instance, this issue features a story on a new YMCA benefit for military personnel and their families who don't have convenient access to a military installation and the support systems they provide. In fact, that benefit spurred a reader to e-mail Myers and tell him of her experience. She said her husband won't recognize her when he returns from deployment. She's lost 25 pounds thanks to the free YMCA membership.
The publication also will feature articles that servicemembers and their families will find helpful in planning moves to new duty assignments.
Other content will come from reader feedback. For example, Myers said, the staff will consider what kinds of information servicemembers and their families are seeking from Military OneSource, a resource for overall life assistance, or what they're looking at on the military community and family policy office's Military Homefront Web page.
Each military departments will have a page, Myers said, with the hope that they'll help to ensure the right people receive the eMagazine. The potential distribution list includes all members of the military, including National Guardsmen and reservists, family, friends, retirees, and other interested parties.
The military community and family policy staff were skeptical about the original weekly updates, Myers said, but the staff is enthused about the eMagazine. In fact, he said, he occasionally has to figure out which pieces he's going to cut from one eMagazine and try to work into another. Myers said he doesn't want the eMagazine to be so big that people won't want to read it. But if it's readable, and if people ask for it to grow just a little, he said, he'd be perfectly happy.
"That way, you know you're successful," he said.