DOL Involved in Multi-Agency Military Family Effort

Many federal agencies will work to fulfill the outlines of the "Strengthening our Military Families: Meeting America's Commitment" report released Jan. 24 by the White House. More employment opportunities, child care, and health care assistance, including mental health care, are planned.

A multi-agency federal effort to make things better for military families has begun. Driven by "Strengthening our Military Families: Meeting America's Commitment," a yearlong report released Jan. 24, the program involves DOD, the Labor Department, HHS, VA, Education, and Agriculture to deliver more services that provide employment opportunities, child care, and health care assistance, including mental health care.

The Department of Defense (DoD) is the nation's largest employer, with 1.4 million members on active duty, 718,000 civilian personnel, and 1.1 million people serving in the National Guard and Reserve forces.

Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Pentagon's office of military community and family policy, noted in recent interviews that more than 2 million troops have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11. He said 55 percent of the force is married, and 40 percent have two children. Community resources must be brought to bear because just 37 percent of military families live on military installations, while 63 percent live in thousands of communities nationwide.

The U.S. Labor Department's portion, in conjunction with Veterans Affairs and Defense, will be reforming the employment workshop portion of the Transition Assistance Program to include an outreach initiative for military spouses, including employment assistance during moves.

DoD, Education, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture are working together to increase child care options, according to the report.

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