Team Yokota,

It was my privilege to be able to speak to so many of you and hear your questions and concerns. Our spouses and dependents are some of the biggest contributors to the success of the military and we appreciate your support every day. I called this town hall so that we could give a little back to you in the form of information. I’ve asked experts across the wing to help me answer some of your questions that came up in our meeting. In some cases, similar questions were blended together for simplicity, and some personal questions that wouldn’t apply to a large audience were left out. 

Why do we need to have FSS and AAFES approval to have a home-based business and can that be addressed/streamlined?

By federal regulation, AAFES has the right to be the sole on-base provider of certain goods and services, so they are able to deny rights to conduct business on-base in some circumstances.  I will say that they provide services for the base that improve our daily lives and they also are a good source of jobs themselves.  Below is the applicable DOD Directive.

DoD Directive 1330.9

4. POLICY 

It is DoD policy that: 

4.1. The Armed Services exchange programs are vital to mission accomplishment and form an integral part of the non-pay compensation system for active duty personnel. As a military resale and category C revenue-producing MWR activity, the Armed Services exchanges have the dual mission of providing authorized patrons with articles of merchandise and services and of generating NAF earnings as a source of funding for DoD military MWR programs. 

4.2. The Armed Services exchanges shall be the primary resale activity on DoD installations for non-food merchandise and patron services. This primacy for resale authority extends to the use of any lawful means for selling merchandise or services.

School loan debt and interest costs families thousands of dollars while being stationed here; professional degrees often require a certain number of hours annually. Often employment in particular specialties is only offered as a volunteer position. Loan deferment doesn't stop interest from building on loans. Can this be addressed?

I acknowledge that this is a tough and real problem for many spouses. Unfortunately, this will not have an easy or fast fix.  Here at Yokota we just can’t offer all the jobs that are available stateside. However, I do plan to bring it up during upcoming meetings with legislators in Washington D.C., because the situation overseas is unique for spouses and we need to provide the best situation possible. There are not as many opportunities available as around a CONUS base, so please know that I will take this issue to high-level decision makers.

I applied for a substitute teaching job 6 months ago and have talked with the school secretaries and principals but have not heard response from them and they have no new news to share. 

Currently the hiring process for all federal positions is facing a significant backlog, and Yokota DODEA schools are no exceptionDODEA is working to complete hiring employees as quickly as possible.  Application to employment times can be up to 12 months. We reached out to DODEA in regard to this and they have provided the information below on the current hiring process.

“The hiring of substitute teachers is a priority for the DoDEA Pacific East District and the DoDEA schools on Yokota Air Base. Over the last two year the selection, hiring, and on boarding process has experienced delays across the entire DoDEA System. There are several places along the hiring path

that have contributed to the long delays.

 

“First, applicants must complete all the required paperwork and return the package to the school secretary. Applicants must then thoroughly complete the EQUIP package and submit it electronically to the DoDEA Office of Personnel Security.  Once an EQUIP package and finger prints are reviewed by the Personnel Security Office, the completed package is forward to the Office of Personnel Management for a background investigation and adjudication for eligibility for Child Care National Agency Check and Inquiries.

 

“This process is In accordance with Department of Defense Instruction 1402.5.  A Child Care National Agency Check and Inquiries background investigations are required for all individuals who have regular contact with children under 18 years of age. The background investigation can take for 120 days to onward to process. In some cases, it has taken a year for the entire process to be completed.

 

“The hiring process was disrupted by the government-wide hiring freeze that was experienced starting in January 2017. Please be aware that delays in hiring of substitute teachers has been elevated to the DoDEA HQ level. At this time we are tracking all requests for background clearance.”

 

When can we expect the East Side CDC to reopen?

The East Side CDC can be expected to reopen as soon as we have enough trained childcare providers. Many of the childcare providers we had PCSed away from Yokota and it has taken time to fill their positions, as those positions require careful screening for the safety of the children. At this time we are also looking at the possibility of adding off-base childcare options.  

I know that this can be a source of stress for families, and we are working the issue as fast as possible while keeping the safety of our children first.

How can we improve the family fitness room at the Samurai Fitness Center? Is there a possibility of childcare at the gym? Can we get a cable machine?

Continuous improvement is always a goal for us. At the moment, we plan to buy new gym equipment for the Samurai Fitness Center and plan to improve the equipment quality and variety in the family fitness room as well. However, with our current low staffing at the CDCs I do not see there being a high likelihood of being able to add childcare at the fitness center.

What legal resources are available to families who want to start online businesses?

Military OneSource (http://militaryonesource.mil) would be the best place to look, it has resources and ideas for spousal employment. Additionally, the Airman and Family Readiness Center has specialists to help with finance, budgeting, and employment. They can be reached at 042-507-6548 or DSN 225-8725.

Can we establish a forum or counsel for Yokota-based home businesses?

Yes. Forum or counsel for Yokota-based home businesses can be established independently as long as it meets the installation policies of private and public organizations on base. Please be reminded, however, that the Exchange has retail primacy on Army and Air Force installations by DOD regulation.  

You mentioned having a base-wide directory of different skills and certifications that spouses and others have on base. Could that be expanded to a directory of home-based businesses as well?

That is a great idea and it is something we’re working on, and hope to have more to you soon on our base-wide directory.

When will the August exercise take place and what will spouses need to have prepared to be ready?

The upcoming exercise is currently planned for August 17, and more information will become available shortly.

If there’s anything you feel like I didn’t answer, please contact me via the Commander’s Action Line, by commenting on this blog, or by reaching out to your unit’s key spouse. I’ll say again-if you haven’t, I highly encourage you to download the Yokota Connect App, available for free on the Android and iPhone stores.  It provides a wealth of information including phone numbers, news, operating hours, and so much more. Thanks for your time and I hope this is useful information!

 

- Col Ken Moss , 374th Airlift Wing Commander

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