In what could one day be looked upon as one of the more significant programs of his tenure in the White House, President Barack Obama today announced an ambitious set of new government-wide policies to improve the lives of military families that addresses everything from veteran homelessness and job opportunities for spouses to child-care and financial problems.
Detailed in a policy report titled Strengthening Our Military Families: Meeting America's Commitment, the program will, according to Military.com:
Robert L. Gordon III, deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Pentagon's office of military community and family policy, told American Forces Press Service in an interview:
DOD officials will be working to boost the number of mental health providers and to increase quality of care, according to Armed Forces Press. In one effort, a TRICARE military health plan working group is undertaking a yearlong project to provide the best possible health care for the more than 9.6 million beneficiaries beyond 2015, the report said. The Defense and Health and Human Services secretaries will also jointly accelerate efforts that prevent and address suicide, the report said, and the VA's National Suicide Call Center will also expand and enhance services to combat suicide among veterans.
According to Military.com, a substantial part of the review was dedicated to providing more child care and better education for military children.
The department has 200,000 military children in the child care system, and a shortage of about 37,000 child care spaces. This month, new child care liaison positions will be established through pilot programs in 13 states with identified childcare needs, according to the report. DOD also will leverage partnerships with several private organizations for assistance with training community providers.
The Department of Education will also get involved to improve education for military children. For the first time the DoE will make military families a priority for its discretionary grant programs, which will favor funding programs to meet the needs of military-connected students, the report states.
Gordon told Military.com today:
EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this post included excessive quotation and unclear attribution. Click here for an explanation.