Helping America’s Military Families
We have the most powerful military in the world, but our nation’s heroes do not serve alone. Military spouses and children are the support system of our troops. In fact, former Chief of Staff of the United States Army, General Ray Odierno always used to say that the strength of our nation is our military, and the strength of our military is our military families.
Our military families have changed a lot over the years. More military spouses are working today than ever before. This is great news, but all too often spouses sacrifice their own careers to meet the needs of the military. In addition, military children experience interruptions in their school year due to abrupt relocations. The average military child will change schools six to nine times.
Mia Reisweber is a teacher at Missouri University of Science and Technology and a PhD candidate at St. Louis University. Mia applied for this program with the knowledge that her husband would move to Fort Leonard Wood for professional education in June. Unfortunately, her husband’s orders were changed to a report date at the end of October. Mia and her husband pleaded with the Army to allow her to move early to start her PhD program in August; however, their requests were denied.
Liz O’Brien coached Division 1 college basketball for eleven years, including two years at West Point. She then married into the Army, where the lack of flexibility on moves made her coaching career unsustainable. She has three daughters. Her oldest daughter is eight years old and has already moved six times.
These modern times require the military to evolve to better meet the needs of our nation’s military families. Last week, I introduced the bipartisan Military Family Stability Act, S.2137, with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. This important legislation will provide much-needed flexibility to our military families when duty stations change by allowing students to finish the school year or parents to be able to start or finish professional or educational programs. It will help add stability for dual career families and our military children during the military relocation period that occurs every two-to-three years.
I’m pleased to introduce this legislation, and I hope you’ll take a minute to watch our press conference below.