DoD Seeks to Improve Services, Support for Families

DoD Seeks to Improve Services, Support for Families

Soldier hugging family
Photo by: U.S. Army/Cpl. Hannah Clifton

The latest DoD survey of military spouses showed improvements in areas such as personal health and financial stability, but family members also continued to grapple with increased stress from deployments, spouse employment and other issues.

The Survey of Active-Duty Spouses is conducted every two years, and the results help military leaders identify problems and refine or adjust policies and programs for families. 

This latest survey, measuring spouse satisfaction from 2017 to 2019, was sent to more than 65,200 spouses across all the services. A little more than 10,000, or about 16.5%, responded between July and November 2019.

More than half of respondents—56%—said they were satisfied with the military lifestyle, while 59% said they favor staying in the military. Both those numbers are lower than past years, with 60% of respondents in 2017 saying they were satisfied with military life and 68% of spouses in 2012 saying they favor staying.

Access to quality health care was rated the most important benefit, but spouses reported that it took longer for them to find employment after a permanent change-of-station move.

Survey respondents also said they were increasingly concerned about their service member’s mental health following a deployment, and 54% said they were feeling more stress than usual in their personal lives. As a result, the use of counseling increased in 2019, with 17% of spouses saying they had seen a counselor in the past six months.

“While many of the 2019 survey results are consistent with past years, the survey indicates that there are areas where we are doing well, findings that may be of some concern and findings that need to be watched," said Paul Rosenfeld, director of the Center for Retention and Readiness within DoD’s Office of People Analytics.

To read the full survey, click here.