Leaders to Increase Spouse Job Opportunities

Leaders to Increase Spouse Job Opportunities

Photo by: Army National Guard

Army leaders have vowed to do what is within their power to improve employment opportunities for military spouses.

Testifying May 15 before the Senate Appropriations Committee to review the Army’s budget request for fiscal 2019, Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper said he was doing what he could to shorten hiring times for on-post civilian jobs, currently about 140 days on average, and trying to streamline the security vetting process that can delay hiring. The Army doesn’t have complete control over the hiring process for all on-post jobs, but Esper said he’d do what he could and would encourage a faster hiring and vetting process for the federal government.

Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley said his effort to lengthen soldiers’ tours could lead to more steady employment for spouses. The “constant churn” of moves makes it difficult for spouses to have steady employment, he said. Milley said he is more optimistic about being able to lengthen tours for enlisted soldiers than for officers.

“The enlisted force we think we can probably achieve longer than three-year assignments; with officers it’s significantly more challenging because of career development opportunities that we want for our officers,” Milley said.

President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order aimed at enabling military spouses to find work more easily by providing more opportunities for them to be considered for federal competitive service jobs. Federal agencies will be held accountable for increased use of the noncompetitive hiring authority for military spouses. Trump also encouraged commercial entities to expand job opportunities for military spouses.

In a White House tribute May 9 to honor military mothers and spouses, Trump noted the high unemployment rate among military spouses, saying they “have already shown the utmost devotion to our nation, and we want to show you our devotion in return.”