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Department of Defense Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Management Policy) Military Community & Family Policy. DoD Spouse Employment Assistance A Program Update Third Veterans’ Transition Assistance Conference Washington, DC December 5-6, 2002. Legislative Authority.

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Department of Defense

Assistant Secretary of Defense

(Force Management Policy)

Military Community & Family Policy

DoD Spouse Employment Assistance

A Program Update

Third Veterans’ Transition Assistance Conference

Washington, DC

December 5-6, 2002


Legislative Authority

  • Title 10, Section 1056. Relocation Assistance Programs - directs the Secretaries of the Military Departments to provide relocation information, preparation, and settling-in services with emphasis on spouse employment.
  • Title 10, Section 1781. Office of Family Policy - established the Office of Family Policy, assigning it responsibility for military family policies and programs.
  • Title 10, Section 1784, Employment Opportunities for Military Spouses authorized the Secretary of Defense to provide employment opportunities for military spouses in the same geographic area as their sponsors’ permanent duty station. (Establishes the Spouse Preference Program.)
  • Public Law 107-107, National Defense Authorization Act 2002, directs DoD to report on the potential merit of direct financial assistance to spouses, and encourages inter-departmental and public/private partnerships.

Active Duty Military Family Status

The Force

Active: 1,370,678

Reserve: 1,251,452

About 60% of military personnel have family responsibilities.

Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) 2000 Demographics Report, Profile of the Military Community


Marital Status of Active Duty Members

*Includes annulled, interlocutory, legally separated, widowed and unknown cases. Comprises roughly 0.2%

2000 Profile of the Military Community, DMDC


Age of Military Spouses

Of a total of 693,793 military spouses, the majority (over 70%) are 35 years old or younger.

2000 Profile of the Military Community, DMDC


Army Enlisted Spouse Demographics

  • 32% have completed high school but have no additional formal education and 13% have a bachelors degree or higher level of education.
  • 53% are under 29 years of age; 28% are under 25.
  • 42% have been married for less than 5 years; 69% for less than 10 years.
  • 18% currently live together as a “blended family,” i.e., they and/or their spouse have children from a previous marriage or relationship living with them.

U.S. Army Community and Family Support Survey of Army Families IV, Spring 2001


CONUS Spouse Employment Status

Data relates to spouse employment in the civilian labor market of the Continental U.S.

Enlisted Spouse

Employment Status

Officer Spouse

Employment Status

2000 Profile of the Military Community, DMDC


Comparison of Employment Status

Army Officer & Enlisted Spouses

U.S. Army Community & Family Support Center, Survey of Army Families 1V, Spring 2001


Reasons for Wanting or Needing to Work,

by Paygrade

(Percentage of responses marked “very important”)

1997 Junior Enlisted Spouse Survey


Junior Enlisted Financial Stability

  • The 1999 Active Duty Survey reports 56% of junior enlisted personnel experience some to significant financial difficulties.
  • Problems center on:

E-3 Married with 2 children

$2071 Net Income

$597 Rent

$180 Utilities

$250 Car Payment

$200 Miscellaneous/Laundry

$90 Car Insurance

$50 Fuel

$450 Groceries

$150 Credit Cards

$1967 Total Expenses

$104 Disposable Income

  • High housing costs
  • Transportation costs (car, insurance, maintenance)
  • High cost of credit
  • Child care
  • Mobility costs
  • Spouse employment

Enlisted Savings and Investments

DMDC’s 1999 Active Duty Survey asked: Roughly what is the total amount of savings you (and your spouse) have? (Responses include funds in bank accounts, IRAs, money market accounts, CDs, Savings Bonds, mutual funds, stocks and/or bonds.)

This leaves enlisted families

little room for difficult times

(unemployed spouse, etc.)


Tension Between Military Realities

and Families

  • High PERSTEMPO, separation and mobility
  • Emerging expectations for “family time”
  • Frequent Relocations
  • Growing number of working spouses who want careers

Why We Help

Spouse employment/unemployment drives other issues:

  • Family Income
  • Child Care
  • Relocation
  • Recruitment
  • Retention

Impact of Military Lifestyle

on Spouse Employment

  • 41% of unemployed/non-employment seeking spouses of Air Force enlisted personnel reported that their spouse’s military career had a negative impact on their own career plans.
  • 51% of unemployed/non-employment seeking spouses of Air Force officers reported that their spouse’s military career had a negative impact on their own career plans.

1999-2000 Air Force Community Needs Assessment


Impact of Spouse Employment


  • Members with spouses who were employed in civilian jobs (54.5%) or voluntarily out of the work force (55%) indicated satisfaction with the military way of life to a greater extent than did other married personnel.(1999 Active Duty Member Survey, DMDC)
  • An increase in the spouse’s employment and earnings increased satisfaction with Army life and, in turn, enhanced her desire for her husband to remain in the Army.(Interrelationships of Child Care Use, Spouse Employment, Army Satisfaction, and Retention in the U.S. Army, 1994)
  • The quality of spouse employment and family life enhance satisfaction with Army life and increased her desire for the retention of her husband in the Army.(The Socioeconomic Benefits to Military Families of Home-Basing of Armed Forces, 1994)

Impact of Spouse Employment

Retention (continued)

  • Number 1 factor related to career intent for all Army personnel: Spouse supports your making a career of the Army.
  • Strongest relationships for junior enlisted Army personnel: Satisfaction with overall quality of Army life and spouse supports your making a career of the Army.
  • In 2001, about one half of junior enlisted soldiers and about three fourths of junior NCOs and junior officers reported that their spouse if fairly/very supportive of their making a career in the Army.

Army Personnel Survey Office, U.S. Army Research Institute presentation for the Symposium on Army Spouses, June 18, 2002


DoD Spouse Employment Programs

Family Center Programs

  • Information and referral
  • Education and training
  • Job banks
  • Outreach to clients and community

Headquarters Initiatives

  • Internet resources
  • Research
  • Resource management
  • Policy/operations guidance

High Profile Programs

  • Spouse Employment Action Agenda
  • Spouse Telework Employment Program
  • Corporate partnerships
  • Department of Labor partnerships

Spouse Employment Summit

  • Held in Phoenix, AZ, August 22-25, 2000, in conjunction with DoD Family Readiness Conference.
  • Attended by approximately 120 headquarters, command and installation program staff; civilian personnel staff; subject matter experts; and spouses from all four Military Services.
  • Approximately 13 working groups isolated key issues and proffered solutions.
  • Report issued December 21, 2000.
  • Follow-up conference held April 9-10, 2002, in Orlando, FL

Summit Action Agenda

  • Policy - Need to define and standardize Military programs and policy guidance.
  • Resources - Need to provide dedicated resources within the system to address staffing, career development, and skills training.
  • Spouse Career Continuity/Corporate Partnerships - Need to partner with private industry to connect spouses with portable jobs and other methods of pursuing lifetime career goals.
  • Marketing - Need to make existing resources known and relate them to customer needs.

Policy Standardization

  • Web-based Consolidation and Comparison: Spouse Central (under development)
  • Updating Service Guidance: New Army and Navy Desk Guides
  • National Defense Authorization Act 2002: Section 571 requires review of existing spouse employment programs with an eye towards enhancing retention.
  • Performance Measures.
  • Strategic Plan: Do We Need a DoD Instruction?

Enhancing Resources:

Challenges and Opportunities

  • Emerging Military Requirements: International obligations and the “War on Terrorism.”
  • Montgomery G.I. Bill Benefits Expansion: Extremely limited in scope.
  • Section 571, National Defense Authorization Act 2002: It’s not just a report; it’s an opportunity.
  • Social Compact.
  • Ongoing Service Efforts.
  • Technology-based Solutions.

Internet Resources

  • DoD Job Search <> features want ads, resume writing, and referral systems.
  • One-Stop Jobs (part of the MAPsite Employment Station) <> provides a single listing of major DoD and Military Component organizations employment Web sites and a selection commercial employment Web sites.
  • Transition Bulletin Board <> lists job want ads and other useful information.
  • DoD Transportal <> although primarily for separating military personnel, contains resources of value for any military family member seeking a job.
  • Military Assistance Program Central <> an on-line desk guide rich in policy and information resources for spouse employment professionals.

Career Continuity:

Department of Labor (DoL) Partnership

  • In August 2001, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Secretary of Labor Chao met to discuss partnering in three key areas: recruiting, spouse employment and transition.
  • DoL programs are managed locally according to state law, but there are some areas where headquarters action could benefit military spouses, including definition of displaced workers, DoL partner programs, statistics, and a Web site.
  • DoD and DoL are developing a multi-layered plan which would bring together existing resources. Further developments would proceed in stages based on pilot programs and an assessment of their results.

Department of Labor (DoL) Partnership

Early Results

  • Career Accelerator Centers in Fort Campbell, KY; Hampton Roads, VA; and San Diego, CA, granted permission to serve spouses who have lost jobs to relocation. Opportunities include individual training accounts and access to services provided displaced workers under Pell and Workforce Investment Act grants.
  • Military Spouse Resource Center <>

Career Continuity:

Spouse Telework Employment Program

The Departments of State, Defense and Labor, and the General Services Administration propose a public/private partnership to address the spouse employment issues. Partnership objectives encompass:

  • Increasing domestic and foreign private sector career opportunities.
  • Serving as a basis for an expanded program of remote training and teleworking facilities, and a database of remote work opportunities.
  • Augmenting existing military and federal programs to assist spouses in all stages of their professional development.

Career Continuity & Corporate Partnerships

  • October 2000: The Military Quality of Life Summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce identified military spouse training and employment as a priority.
  • January 2001: CISCO and the Communications Workers of America provide scholarships for classroom and distance learning technology training leading to A+ and CISCO network certification.
  • March 2001: Marriott, CVS and Home Depot expressed a firm interest in partnering with DoD to provide jobs and portable tenure for DoD spouses in their organizations.
  • January 2002: First phase of Navy/Adecco contractual partnership begins.
  • June 2002: The Spouse Employment Working Group began conferring with General Counsel and others regarding a possible hiring preference for spouses in DoD contracts. Meanwhile, General Counsel continues to work on the language for potential public/private partnership agreements per P.L. 107-107.


  • Challenging audience.
  • First you need something to market: the Adecco experience.
  • Army Family Team Building assessment suggests better methods:
  • Immediate versus delayed outreach.
  • Active versus passive marketing.
  • Demonstrative versus didactic marketing.
  • Direct versus indirect information distribution.
  • Coordinated versus segmented support services & programs.
  • Partnership opportunities.

Looking to the Future

  • DoD Research
  • Social Compact/Defense Planning Guidance
  • RAND
  • Military Family Research Institute
  • Service Research

The goal of DoD spouse employment policy is to create a military spouse employment program that affords every spouse the opportunity to develop a career or become employed.