Survivor Advisory Working Group

The Army Survivor Advisory Working Group (SAWG) represents regular Army, National Guard and reserve survivors on quality-of-life issues. Its members strengthen communication between the total Army and the Army survivor community.

The group consists of 12 Army members from the headquarters Army staff and Army commands, 12 survivor advisers and spouses of senior Army leaders.

Established in 2007, the Survivor Advisory Working Group, was chartered in October 2016, formally defining its mission and purpose.

What does the group do?

The Army Survivor Advisory Working Group meets at least twice yearly to identify, evaluate and provide recommendations on new issues; reopen previous issues; and refocus current issues.

Members discuss quality-of-life matters affecting Army survivors worldwide and provide recommendations about concerns of Army survivors.

Accomplishments include:

  • Memorial Day and service flag awareness campaign
  • Gaining 24-month survivor Soldier stabilization
  • Gold Star access badge renaming
  • Advocating for Soldier bereavement leave
  • Promoting Tricare status notification changes
  • Assisting survivors with expedited Gold Star pin replacement

Members are also active at local Survivor Outreach Services offices and share their stories during training sessions for casualty assistance officers. What’s more, they have advised on casualty assistance officer training, assisted with face-to-face pastoral care and ensured that survivor-based scenarios are included in Army Soldier and Family program training.

Why is this important to the Army?

The Army Survivor Advisory Working Group demonstrates the service’s commitment to its Soldiers. The Army values its Families, and so it ensures that survivor Families feel connected to the military for as long as they desire.

How do I get involved in the SAWG?

The Army seeks new group members each year. Candidates may be surviving Civilian or active-duty spouses and Family members (such as spouse, parent or child). They should be active in survivor communities and reflect a diverse cross section of the Army. Candidate nominations are vetted through the local SOS coordinators to the commands. Annual guidance for solicitation of new members is published through command channels each fall.

Army Survivor Advisory Working Group members serve three-year terms, which may be extended by up to a year.

How do I share a survivor concern that the SAWG should consider addressing?

The SAWG is supported by one Army staff member. If you have a concern and think that changes in Army policy could improve conditions for survivors, send an email to the staff member, who will share it with the SAWG. The 12 members consider each issue and prioritize those that they will develop for Army senior leaders. To contact the SAWG staff member, click here.