Other stories — elections, oil spills, Rand Paul — have garnered bigger headlines lately, but a real movement, complete with milestones to mark that movement, to take better care of the country’s military families deserves its moment in the spotlight, too. Making good on campaign promises, President Barack Obama and first lady Michele Obama have recently lent their positions and support to efforts to understand the stresses military families experience with frequent deployments, and to shore up services and programs that are designed to ease their struggles.
Building on a study last year that showed children in military families experience emotional and behavioral difficulties that exceed national averages, defense officials are undertaking a survey of 100,000 military spouses and 40,000 married, active-duty service members to understand the effects of multiple deployments on families, and to assess and strengthen the policies and programs in place to help families. The review was announced in May at a Military Family Association summit.
Also, Obama signed legislation that will expand mental health counseling for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, provide more services for women service members (including maternity care), and help homeless veterans. The legislation also gives stipends and housing allowances to caregivers of wounded soldiers.
All of this is welcome, if overdue, news.
As Mrs. Obama said when she announced the full-scale review of military family well-being and services, “One percent of Americans may be fighting our wars, but we need 100 percent of Americans to support them and their families. This has to be all hands on deck. … As America asks more of these families, they have a right to expect more of us. This is our moral obligation. It’s also a matter of national security. The readiness of our armed forces depends on the readiness of our military families.”
Finally, there is mobilization on that front, too.
— The Courier-Journal, Louisville