Armed Forces News

A Defense Department report to Congress on Aug. 4 proposes establishing a plan during the next year to redefine and streamline services the Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services (AFES) program provides to service members and their families. The findings state that some AFES services might overlap with those DoD now provides. The report acknowledges that continuing decreases in public donations to the American Red Cross has left the organization short in covering costs of the AFES program. Between 1994 and 2003, Congress appropriated $106.9 million toward the cost of the program, with the American Red Cross covering the rest through its general operating funds. The report, completed in consultation with Red Cross officials, recommended input from the heads of the unified combatant commands and military service chiefs before final decisions are made on changes to the AFES program.