Military Recreation — Accreditation, Funding and Sponsorships

The Military Recreation or Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs promote active living through participation in recreation, fitness, sports, cultural arts and other leisure pursuits. The following sections provide information about program accreditation, funding categories and commercial sponsorships.

Military recreation accreditation

The Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies has released the revised "Guide to Standards for National Accreditation of Military Operations." Since the Morale, Welfare and Recreation department on every installation is a park and recreation agency, the revised military edition reviewed by the Department of Defense provided enhanced clarity and focus to the accreditation process for military recreation.

The MWR program, called "military recreation" for CAPRA accreditation purposes, is concerned with the efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism of its operations. Therefore, military recreation self-assessment and peer review is an excellent process for evaluating the quality of the system that delivers programs and activities. Military recreation programs accredited by these standards demonstrate not only that they meet the standards for a quality operation but also that they have professional competence, commitment and military community support to complete the rigorous process of accreditation.

Funding categories

Funding for MWR programs and services is based on three categories: mission sustaining, community support and revenue generating. Each category supports military readiness by providing community, service member and family support services. Congress supports programs within these categories through appropriated funds appropriated funds, nonappropriated funds or a combination of the two.

  • Category A: Mission Sustaining Programs. Category A programs and services are considered the most essential in meeting the organizational objectives of the services. The programs should be supported almost entirely with APF. Programs within this category promote the physical and mental well-being of the military member, thereby supporting the basic military mission. Examples of Category A MWR programs include physical fitness and aquatics; library programs; on-installation parks and picnic areas; basic social recreation programs; shipboard-, company-, and unit-level programs; and sports and athletics (self-directed, unit level and intramural).
  • Category B: Community Support Programs. Category B programs and services are designed to provide service members and their families with community support systems. A mixture of APF and NAF, primarily APF, funds these programs. Examples of Category B MWR programs and services include Child Development Programs; Youth Activities; outdoor recreation, arts and crafts skill development, automotive crafts skill development and sports programs above the intramural level.
  • Category C: Revenue Generating Programs. Category C programs and services generate sufficient income to provide for a majority of their operating expenses, though they are authorized limited APF support. Examples of Category C MWR programs and services include golf courses, clubs, bowling centers, recreational lodging and boating activities.

In certain cases, revenue generating MWR programs may not be capable of producing sufficient income to cover the majority of their operating expenses as required by the funding standard for Category C programs. In instances where this inability to generate income is a result of extenuating circumstances (such as geographic isolation of the location or conditions making the location very similar to isolated and remote locations), the installation may be designated as a "remote and isolated command." The installation would then be authorized to fund Category C programs to the same level of appropriated funds support as Category B programs.

Commercial sponsorships

Commercial sponsorship is defined as "the act of providing assistance, funding, goods, equipment (including fixed assets), or services to an MWR program(s) and/or event(s) by an individual, agency, association, company or corporation, or other entity (sponsor) for a specific (limited) period of time in return for public recognition or advertising promotions." The DoD maintains rules and regulations on the period of time a commercial sponsorship may exist, as well as the manner in which any funds, goods or equipment can be used. Enclosure 9 of DoD Instruction 1015.10, "Programs for Military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR)," November 3, 1995, certified as current May 6, 2011, provides DoD policies concerning commercial sponsorship. Civilian service providers interested in entering into a commercial sponsorship agreement with an MWR program should contact the local installation for further information.


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