There is an old adage among service members, “If the [enter service branch here] wanted you to have a family, they would issue you one.” This phrase comes from the idea and feeling that military families are low priorities. Each service branch is different in what program offerings of support are offered to military families. The Department of Defense (DOD) is the broad organization over all the service branches – the Department of the Navy which includes the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, the Department of the Army, the Department of the Air Force which includes the United States Space Force, the United States Coast Guard, and the National Guard Bureau. The DOD announced the launch of its biennial Active Duty Spouse survey in July of 2021.
Committed to Families
Per a press release from the DOD, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy Patricia Montes Barron stated that “We are committed to taking care of our military spouses, and these surveys will allow us to engage in deeper dialogue with them and help us prioritize solutions that meet their most pressing needs. We’re proud of the progress we have made on important spouse issues, especially around stress, relationship support, and employment. We now there is more to do, and these survey results will help guide our next steps.”
Survey Results Make a Difference
While it can be difficult to see or feel the tangible changes that the survey results provide, there are real differences that can be made by answering the survey truthfully. One such impact has come in spouse licensure changes. There are now programs allowing for coverage of new licensure for spouses with each move. This program came directly from the 2019 survey which “brought attention to the increasing lengths of time for spouses to find a job after a permanent change of station move” said Director of the Center Retention and Readiness in the Office of People Analytics Dr. Paul Rosenfel.
Spouses can do the Survey Here
Some spouses were randomly selected for the survey, to provide a scientifically significant sample. This year, all active-duty spouses are invited to complete the survey via the Department of Defense Office of People Analytics survey portal here.
The previous year’s survey results and other infographics are available on Military One Source. Once the 2021 survey is completed, the results will be available on Military One Source as well.
Do Your Part
If you are a military spouse, make your voice heard by going to the survey and completing it honestly. Share the survey link with your friends and within your community. Consider sending it to Fleet and Family Services, or your service branch’s specific Family Services area, to see if they can share the link. The more spouses who answer will increase the volume of the voices heard.