HomeNewsArticle Display

A smoother transition; the Allied Family Integration Program.

From left to right, the New Zealand, Canadian, United States of America, Australian and United Kingdom flag are displayed together representing the allied forces at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., Sept. 12, 2019.

From left to right, the New Zealand, Canadian, United States of America, Australian and United Kingdom flag are displayed together representing the allied forces at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., Sept. 12, 2019. Buckley’s unique missile warning mission integrates allied forces members as part of the Five Eyes, an intelligence allegiance founded in Aug. 14, 1941. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Mathews)


Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, is home to not only members from every U.S. military branch, but military members and government employees from other countries. The 460th Space Wing, known as America’s Missile Warning Wing, hosts members from New Zealand, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom to assist in Buckley AFB’s central mission.

Transitioning from one country to another is something many military members and their families are accustomed to. Military members and government employees from these allied countries come to Buckley AFB for roughly two to three years and typically bring their families with them.

In 2017, it was identified that family members of those allied partners were not allotted the same privileges U.S. military family members received. Things such as shopping at the Base Exchange, utilizing the commissary, and even base access had been overlooked for these family members who had also traveled to a new country with their spouse.

“We didn’t know what we didn’t know,” said Christina Grooms, the 460th Space Wing community support coordinator. “We started talking with these allied partner members and discovered that a problem existed. That’s when we started developing the Allied Family Integration Program, or AFIP, a program that would ease the process of moving from one country to another.”

On March 1, 2018, Grooms stood up the Allied Family Integration Program support team, a group of people dedicated to making the transition for allied partner family members as easy as possible. Their ultimate goal is to make them feel welcomed when arriving here at Buckley AFB.

“Initial concerns identified a lack of continuity, communication and support for our allied partners,” said Grooms. “We did not have a formalized support system, and allied partners received sponsorship information from various sources as there was not a centralized support system that existed.”

The AFIP team gathered allied partners and reviewed Status of Forces Agreements which helped them determine what base services allied partner families were eligible for. With that information, the 460th Space Wing Judge Advocate’s office developed an Allied Partner Benefit Chart so family members could easily reference services they could utilize when arriving at Buckley AFB.

In addition to providing base services to the allied partner family members, the AFIP team started coordinating social events at the community center on base with themes familiar to allied countries like “Aussie Pub Night” and “British Pub Night”.

Australian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Gene L. Elliott, 460th Operations Support Squadron chief of training, was the master of ceremonies for the last Aussie pub night, held in May 2019.

“It was fun, we really like them,” said Elliot. “There’s usually some Aussie specific food like meat pies, Pavlova, lamington, etc. That’s how most of the pub nights go; they have food and drinks specific to the country followed by a trivia quiz with questions about that country.”

U.S. Air Force Maj. Joseph McIntosh, 460 Force Support Squadron deputy director, has since taken over the program and plans to continue giving our allied force partners the best opportunities for the duration of their time in the U.S.

“The AFIP created an environment where allied partners feel part of Team Buckley when they arrive,” said McIntosh. “It gives them the opportunity to be fully integrated as a mission partner and not just an extra body.”

The Allied Family Integration Program was such a success that it was briefed to Air Force Space Command and used as a benchmark for other bases, such as Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, which also hosts allied partners at their base.


USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.