Providing affordable childcare is becoming a “conundrum” for the military in some areas but is crucial to readiness and retention, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith said Thursday.
“A lot of people have tried to bin this and call it a woman’s issue. It’s not,” Smith said, according to USNI News. “We have single fathers, single mothers, dual-income, dual-working couples. It’s a family issue.”
He spoke alongside Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green on a panel at the Center for Strategic and International Studies hosted by the U.S. Naval Institute.
Green agreed and noted a greater percentage of service members have children than when he and Smith first enlisted.
But when appropriations are tight, the services are forced to focus on other issues, Green said.
“You’re going to put money toward being ready and being lethal,” Green said. “When you have to take funds from other places, it normally comes from infrastructure sustainment, research and development, the programs that support families. Because we must be prepared to fight. We must do that.”
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Crystal A. Jenkins