A Failing Government is Not an Option for Military Families


Recently, someone asked me why I was trying to rationalize President Trump’s cabinet nominations after they overheard me talking about General James Mattis, the new Secretary of Defense. I got the impression they believed there was nothing redeemable about the nominees, including Gen. Mattis, and that it was best to wait for them to fail.

Well, that’s not an option for me…especially for the Secretary of Defense. And it will never be an option regardless of who is in the White House.

I’m a military spouse. I’ve been through three Presidential administrations with my service member. As you know, the federal government has an amazing amount of control over my family’s life. It tells my husband where he is going to live and how long he will live there. The government determines how my husband’s healthcare will be provided, and how much of a raise he’ll get (or if he’ll get one at all), regardless of his job performance. It determines whether he will be in harm’s way thousands of miles away from home. The list goes on and on, and includes frequent moves and uncertainty that also impacts my career, employment, and earning potential.

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The policies that the President supports are important to most military families, because it impacts us directly. It matters if the Secretary of the Defense has strong leadership skills and can weigh different points of view. It matters whether Congress can govern and pass authorizing legislation and federal appropriations (the funding to implement authorizing legislation) on a regular basis. And it’s because we never know where we are going to live and for how long we are going to live there that our nation’s military families needs America’s infrastructure, school systems, healthcare, economy, and the Veterans Administration to work, regardless of what state or community they are located in.

Military families have a unique story to tell because of our mobility. That makes us some of the best advocates for efficient and effective government at EVERY level.

But that’s not a free pass. It’s a reality for all the reasons above. We should still expect government to work as efficiently as possible. However, obstructionism in government is not a friend to those in the military, their families, and those that love and support them. We can and should be a strong voice for efficient and effective government.

Posted by Beth Ann Ray, NMFA Volunteer and military spouse

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