Military Spouses Critical to Health of All-Volunteer Force

Military Spouses Critical to Health of All-Volunteer Force

army spouses sitting at table
Photo by: U.S. Army/Sgt. Keaton Habeck

Satisfaction with military life among military spouses is “incredibly important” to the state of the all-volunteer force, according to a senior DoD official.

Citing the results of a recent military spouse survey that showed a slight decline in satisfaction with military life, Patricia Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, said the downward trend reveals that spouses want to be heard and supported.

“What that [survey] tells us is that today’s military spouse wants to support their service member, is proud of the service that is provided to the nation, however, they also want to feel good about themselves, they want to aspire to their own dreams, their own goals,” Barron said May 20 in a meeting with Pentagon reporters.

The youngest spouses, she said, want a work-life balance and to be “part of something bigger than themselves. That doesn’t go away when you say ‘I do’ to someone that happens to wear a uniform, so it’s incredibly important to the all-volunteer force that we support that military spouse who’s supporting that service member.”

Part of that support includes improving quality of life programs for service members and their families, including child care, health care and spouse employment.

Barron, who previously was director of Family Readiness at the Association of the U.S. Army, pointed to the Virtual Military Spouse Symposium, which kicked off May 14 and continues through May 30, as an example.

The career symposium, designed by the Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program, comprises a series of free virtual events that include keynote speakers, breakout sessions and special topics such as how to build a network, how to grow a career or take it in a new direction, and webinars with career coaches offering one-on-one resume reviews and mock job interviews.

Job seekers can participate in the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Virtual Hiring Fair through May 30. This program aims to connect spouses with representatives from more than 700 employers committed to recruiting, hiring, retaining and promoting military spouses, according to a news release.

The DoD is committed to supporting military spouses “because the military spouse is there through mission deployment, reintegration and reset, as a full partner with that service member as they go about the business of defending our nation,” said Barron, a military spouse for three decades.

Get more details and register for the symposium here.