Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ROA Attends White House Announcement on New Military Family Support Initiatives

Reserve Officers Association Executive Director, retired MG David Bockel, was in attendance at the White House as the President's new commitments to better support military families were introduced Jan. 24.

The administration outlined nearly 50 federal initiatives by federal agencies that establish coordinated and comprehensive support to military families. The program's title: "Strengthening Our Military Families: Meeting America’s Commitment" seeks to ensure:
  • the U.S. military recruits and retains America’s best, allowing it to maintain the high standards which have become a hallmark of our armed forces.
  • Service members can maintain both strong families and a high state of readiness;
  • family members can live fulfilling lives while supporting their service member(s); and
  • the American people better understand and appreciate the experience, strength, and commitment of those who serve and sacrifice on their behalf.
The initiative tackles four strategic priorities claimed as the primary challenges for military families.
1) Enhance the well-being and psychological health of the military family. 2) Ensure excellence in military children’s education and their development.
Develop career and educational opportunities for military spouses.

Increase child care availability and quality for the Armed Forces.

"This is an unprecedented step to address some very significant issues facing service members and their families today," said General Bockel. "I was proud to represent ROA at the unveiling of this project and look forward to monitoring its progress. Many of the items discussed are things which ROA has highlighted in its legislative advocacy and strategic defense education programs, particularly the psychological health issues plaguing our wounded warriors today."

For more information on how these initiatives fall in line with ROA's top priorities, visit www.roa.org/issues.

The administration is 'all-in' as many partnerships are being established between departments on different issues. Health and Human Services will help confront suicide trends within military family and Veteran populations. They will help normalize preventive training and peer-level counseling to best treat psychological needs of our military families, and expand access and quality of child care resources.

Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Labor and HHS have teamed to achieve the aggressive goal of unqualified elimination of homelessness by 2015. DoD, Labor, Commerce, and the Small Business Administration are committed to collaboratively engaging corporate America and expanding career opportunities for military spouses.

The Department of Agriculture will co-host the Family Resilience Summit in 2011 with DoD to maximize USDA’s reach to military communities across rural America through its cooperative extension network.

The Department of Education will make supporting military families one of its supplemental priorities for its discretionary grant programs. This priority, when applied, will, for the first time ever, favor grant applications to meet the needs of military students. Education has also made accessing and processing of financial aid more tailored to military families and more sensitive to the financial fluctuations of Guard and Reserve personnel.

The Treasury Department is establishing an Office of Service Member Affairs to help educate and protect military families from predatory lending and harmful consumer practices.
The Department of the Interior is making available its facilities on their 500+ million acres of Federal lands to military families for recovery, reintegration, and youth employment.
Treasury, Transportation, Homeland Security, and DoD are accelerating efforts to bring down professional licensing barriers to promote competitive career advancement across states on par with civilian advancement.

In attendance at the announcement were the Joint Chiefs of Staff, most members of President Obama's cabinet, and all of the Reserve Chiefs.

Read the White House transcript of the event.


Anonymous said...

I don't see anything about easing the hardships that our immigration laws are causing military families, such as the recent effort to deport the spouses of military members when the spouses have been erroneously allowed to enter the US on the Visa Waiver program. Is there anything in this initiative that will benefit military families who are being broken apart by the dysfunctional immigration system?

ReserveOfficer said...

I didn't see anything in the proposal about immigration either. If you would like to give a more thorough explaination of the laws or policies you are having a problem with in that regard, we have a mechanism to provide feedback to the administration that they need to include this in their initiatives. Please contact ROA's legislative director, CAPT Marshall Hanson at mhanson@roa.org with more detail.