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DACOWITS Seeks Help for Dual-Military Couples

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USMC
Wednesday, March 07, 2018

A Pentagon advisory committee suggests the military could be more accommodating to the more than 84,000 dual-military couples.

The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, known as DACOWITS, has three recommendations about co-location policies in its recently released 2017 report:

  • It wants situations to get higher-level authorities involved if an assignment manager cannot station a dual-military couple.
  • It wants cooperation between the services about assignments for interservice couples.
  • It wants the services to try to co-locate dual-service parents who share custody of children.

These are just recommendations, and aren’t binding in any way. Change would require defense and service leaders to revise regulations and policy. Formed in 1951, the civilian advisory committee appointed by the secretary of Defense has played a major role in improving the treatment and opportunities for military women, including advocating the opening of direct combat roles, expanding maternity leave and improving women’s uniforms.

Retired Air Force Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger, former commander of the Air Force Materiel Command, heads the committee. Two AUSA staff members are part of the DACOWITS Retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth Preston, AUSA vice president for NCO and soldier programs, is the advisory panel’s vice chairman. Retired Sgt. Maj. Norma Helsham, a DACOWITS member, is an AUSA communications and social media program manager.

Co-location for dual-service couples is a significant issue. About 9.5 percent of married Army officers and about 9 percent of married Army enlisted soldiers are married to other service members. Nearly half of married active-duty women have spouses who also serve in the military.

More than 11,000 soldiers with children are married to other service members, with more than 1,100 married to an active-duty member from another service, according to 2016 data provided by DACOWITS in the report.