Command Sponsorship adds new opportunities for families in Korea

by Staff Sgt. Heather A. Denby
35th ADA Public Affairs

One of the biggest decisions a Soldier must make when on assignment to South Korea is whether to apply for command sponsorship for their family.

The U. S. Forces – Korea Command Sponsorship Program provides a systematic method of allocating CSP among Priority 1 (Key Billet), Priority 2 (Component Commander Mission Continuity Requirements), and Priority 3 (Component Commander-Managed CS billets) to enhance mission readiness throughout Korea and promote continuity, predictability and stability. It also supports the tour length change and incentives in the Joint Federal Travel Regulations allowing more families the opportunity to conduct a Permanent Change of Station to Korea.

However, based on current infrastructure limitations, all USFK installations are at or near CS capacity. As a result, CSP allocations must be managed very closely and be synchronized with mission requirements, until full tour normalization has been achieved.

According to the Eighth Army CSP website, there are three main reasons why command sponsorship could be disapproved: priority fill requirements within command (must fill assignments requiring multi-year commitment), non-availability of command sponsorship positions within the command during the time of request, and medical issues identified by the Exceptional Family Member Program that cannot be supported in a certain area or throughout Korea.

But the possibility of CSP disapproval should not deter applicants, according to the Eighth Army CSP program manager.

“We often see the same names pop up on the list of pending CSP applicants,” said David Campbell. “And that’s okay.”

Soldiers who are denied command sponsorship of their dependents may resubmit their request throughout the duration of their tour in Korea.

Campbell cautions Soldiers who apply late in their tour.

“Basically, it’s a change of tour type and that incurs a 24-month tour obligation,” he said.

Some Soldiers who have command-sponsored families in country can also opt to continue serving in Korea with their families in another unit.

Capt. Bill Leasure’s wife and their five children received their command sponsorship under the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade and lived at Camp Humphreys for five months until he received assignment instructions to report to the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade just 12 miles south of their home.

“The command sponsorship process was a little tricky to navigate at first,” said Leasure. “I had to call individuals in Korea to check on the status and there were communications challenges which created some misunderstanding. However, the issues were resolved and in the end the process was a lot less painful than I thought it was going to be, especially for my wife.”

The command sponsorship program offers opportunities not just for spouses but for their children as well.

“I definitely feel like we’ve had a lot more opportunities here than I would have had in the continental U.S.,” said Amanda. “I’ve been to Hawaii, Japan and all over Korea; it’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced before.”

The Leasure family was previously assigned to a unit in Oklahoma and said that the opportunities to interact with others, get involved in the community and attend advanced schooling were incomparable to what they’ve seen during their tour in Korea.

“I’m really happy with my decision to bring my family here,” Leasure said. “The opportunities they’ve had here in Korea are unlike anywhere else and their experiences have truly changed their lives for the better.”

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