The Defense Department would explore a variety of options for supporting the career goals of military spouses, under legislation Sens. Tim Kaine (Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Patty Murray (Wash.) introduced last week. It calls for DOD to:
- study the impact of frequent moves on spouse employment and offer recommendations for countering the harmful effects;
- develop a plan to allow military spouses to launch small businesses on military installations, and consider ways to increase participation of military spouse-friendly businesses in DOD contracts;
- identify ways to boost the availability of child care, including relying on subsidy programs; and
- find ways to boost spouses’ use of the My Career Advancement Account program, which provides scholarships for training and education.
In addition, the measure would adjust federal hiring authority so agencies can hire military spouses faster, reported Army Times. To speed hiring of staff for child development centers, it would require DOD to issue interim authorization while the formal vetting process is under way. The legislation also would allow spouses to attend transition assistance programs with their service member; currently they can only attend when space is available.In an op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Kathy
Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families, explains why the bill is urgently needed.
Photo by the Architect of the Capitol