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New name for ‘key spouses’

Rebranded Key Spouse Program allows flexibility to support families

The updated Commander’s Key Support Program allows anyone interested, irrespective of marital status, to hold roles as long as volunteer duties do not conflict with primary responsibilities. Photo credit: Commander’s Key Support Program Facebook page

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ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -The Department of the Air Force announced the Key Spouse Program is changing to the Commander's Key Support Program, at the annual major command spouse conference, March 13-15.  

The updated program expands opportunities for airmen, guardians, federal employees and family members to contribute to their units, allowing anyone interested, irrespective of marital status, to hold roles as long as volunteer duties do not conflict with primary responsibilities. Volunteers will now be identified as Key Support Liaisons, or KSLs.  

"The name change is only the beginning," said Gina Allvin, the spouse of the Air Force chief of staff. "Our goal is to create a culture where support programs are ready to surge when needed. When service members and their families understand the resources available to them, it makes navigating challenging times easier for the entire base community." 

The program originated in 2009 as an Air Force chief of staff initiative to enhance connection and communication flow from leadership to families. Over the past 15 years, it has gone through numerous changes, but volunteering remained available only to spouses of military members. 

"This update recognizes the diverse talents and contributions all members of our community can make and ensures that everyone feels included," said Jennifer Saltzman, the spouse of the U.S. Space Force chief of Space Operations. "I'd like to thank every teammate who has worked hard to make this program what it is today, including our Space Force and Air Force Key Spouses of the year, Tauni Combs and Lina Arenas, who helped us shape this important transformation." 

In addition to a new name, the program incorporates new readiness, resource and connectedness objectives designed to help commanders meet the needs of the modern family. Virtual training is expected to be available in mid-2024 through MilLife Learning. Attendees can expect to come away with updated tools and templates and a local resource connection to set them up for success. 

"We want to strengthen the sense of family readiness and resilience across our force," said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Allvin. "While spouses remain central to the program, opening the aperture for others to fill these important roles increases our ability to get information on resources and support programs to families." 

The changes came as part of a collaborative effort between the Air Force Personnel Center and current and past volunteers, who identified ways to align military family needs with strengthened programs, tools and resources. 

"By expanding opportunities for involvement, we strengthen our connections and enhance the readiness and resilience of our entire force," said U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman. "We're at our best when we stand together, confident that our strong network of teammates is ready to offer support when needed."

More information on the DAF's Commander Key Support Program can be found here.

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