Sequestration adds stress to military families: Association meets with DoD officials

Sequestration adds stress to military families:Association meets with DoD officialsShortly after the new Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, arrived at the Pentagon, he told his staff that he wanted to reach out to military and veterans organizations. As a result of that request, I recently spent two days at a Pentagon roundtable meeting with Secretary Hagel, senior Department of Defense (DoD) officials, and twenty-one other military and veterans organization leaders. I appreciate Secretary Hagel’s early outreach and the opportunity his roundtable discussion provided for me to ask many of the questions military families have been asking us about sequestration, support for military families, and what lies ahead for our military community.

Secretary Hagel shared his opinion that the tough budget realities facing DoD would not change. He asked how DoD can effectively work with military and veterans organization to expand the services and support our service members and military families need. This was an important discussion for a new Secretary of Defense to have with the organizations in the room and, I hope, with many others in the future. Partnerships and collaborations are important, but we also need to talk about the unique obligation our government, through the Department of Defense, has to support and sustain military families during times of war and peace.

We remain a nation at war. Our all-volunteer force, making up less than one percent of the nation, has made extraordinary sacrifices for our country. Military families are navigating new uncertainties: unpredictable deployment schedules; downsizing; worry about how the stress of separation and reunion will affect family relationships; and concern that the foundation of support families have come to rely on will disappear.

The reality of sequestration adds to the stress of military families. Will the military be able to retain mental health counselors and will civilian mental health providers continue to care for our families to the extent needed? How will DoD address the consequences of civilian employees furloughs on the delivery of support services? Will child care services be available for school-aged children who suddenly have fewer school days? Will families be reimbursed for out-of-pocket costs made in anticipation of a deployment only to learn the deployment has been cancelled? Will DoD have robust resources for the families affected by suicide or sexual assault? Does DoD have the funding and capacity to meet the mandated requirements of the new transition assistance program to effectively prepare transitioning families?

Our Association’s highest priority is to fight for military families. We will fight to ensure programs and benefits critical to the wellbeing of military families are authorized, funded, and implemented to maintain their readiness and allow them to meet the challenges of military life. We will fight to protect families from destructive budget cuts. We will fight to relieve the emotional stress of military families as service members respond to crises worldwide.

What budget cuts are you most concerned about?

Joyce RaezerPosted by Joyce Raezer, Executive Director at the National Military Family Association

4 responses to “Sequestration adds stress to military families: Association meets with DoD officials

  1. Margaret Fyffe

    We are worried about a rift for government service workers

  2. Johnna Willmon

    I have many concerns regarding Sequestration. First…the impact to our soldiers & loved ones deployed! They are fighting for this country & having to worry about what their families impact to this at home will be. Second, there isn’t anyone in the Military who isn’t aware of areas where cuts could be made which deal with wasteful spending & outrageous contracting fees by outside corporations by the Military which could maybe lessen the impact to the children & their schools. Third, I am outraged by the leaders of this great nation & their lack of Accoutability to do their jobs!! Every American Military or Civilian has made great sacrifices since the financial fiasco of this nation, yet they sit up there like fat cats like they are entitled to waste, spend, and take more and more. To the Commander and Cheif we have pledged to obey and the Government of the great nation we have sworn to defend with our lives….you should be Ashamed.

  3. This mess is what military families who vote for Republicans deserve. Get with it and educate these military families on who really roots for them—it’s the Democrats like me, who pay the bills and the Republicans who think only of bowing to the Rich!!

    • Johnna Willmon

      This isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue…..it is government all together regardless of party. To state something as ignorant as this is what any military member deserves because of whom they voted for is so outrageous, I don’t know where to start. Our soldiers fight for all Americans regardlesss of party or beliefs, they defend your right to make rude statements about them and they do not deserve those kind of comments, but your respect and support. We are Americans, one nation under God, for liberty and justice for all.

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