Washington, D.C.– The following is a statement by BPC Task Force on Defense Personnel co-chairs Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families, and former Sen. Jim Talent, BPC Senior Fellow:
“The recent White House attention to the plight facing spouses in military families touches on one of the most important issues confronting military recruitment and retention. In our Bipartisan Policy Center Task Force on Defense Personnel, we pointed out that the inability of military spouses to get employment when a change of assignment occurs was one of the main reasons that soldiers, airmen and Navy personnel left the military. We are glad to see the White House, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, and Administrator Linda McMahon of the Small Business Administration, focusing on this increasingly difficult problem.
We ask Congress and the Administration to support a public-private partnership to pilot workforce development solutions for military spouses.
“We have several recommendations. We ask Congress and the administration to support a public-private partnership to pilot workforce development solutions for military spouses. We also ask that Congress pass legislation to make it easier for spouses qualified in careers requiring state certifications to achieve reciprocity. We recognize that Congress will have to work with governors, as well as the Executive Branch, to legislate reciprocity. It would be an important step toward helping military spouses who have certification in such areas as teaching, the medical profession, accounting, and many other careers, and who find it impossible to transfer certification from one state to another. Spouses who support military personnel engaged in protecting our nation from harm should be given the special treatment such sacrifice demands.
“We hope that the Department of Defense, the White House, and Congress focus on this problem during the upcoming debate on the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. We know that the House and Senate Armed Services committees recognize the problem as a serious one and it will likely be the subject of debate when the bills come to the House and Senate floors. The House NDAA contains provisions attempting to address the problem and we congratulate HASC for its initiative in this area, and hope that more can be accomplished as work on the NDAA progresses.”
The BPC Task Force on Defense Personnel recommendation is F-1 on page 49