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Gillibrand, Cotton Bill Would Help Military Families

Monday, June 26, 2017

Washington, D.C.– The bipartisan ACCESS Act introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) underscores one of the main points made by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Task Force on Defense Personnel: members of our military should not have to choose between serving their nation or taking care of their families.

“This legislation takes an important step toward ensuring that our troops do not have to choose between serving their nation and serving their families. By improving access and flexibility for child care options, this bill will make it easier for service members and their families to deal with some of the challenges of military life,” Blaise Misztal, BPC director of national security, said. “It will help bring the military closer in line with expectations of 21st Century Americans. This strengthens our nation and our national security.”

Members of our military should not have to choose between serving their nation or taking care of their families.

“The ACCESS legislation addresses one of the important objections families often have to military service—lack of child care facilities. By adding child care coordinators, improved hours of operation of military-run Child Development Centers, and proposing a pilot program to coordinate off- and on-base child care centers, this proposal by Senators Gillibrand and Cotton would improve family morale and lead to greater retention of military personnel,” Steve Bell, senior advisor at BPC, said. “I hope that this proposal appears in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate Armed Services Committee will begin drafting soon.”

BPC’s Task Force on Defense Personnel led by former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former Senator Jim Talent, Gen. Jim Jones, former national security advisor, and Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families, published a set of consensus recommendations in its report Building a F.A.S.T. Force: A flexible Personnel System for a Modern Military.

KEYWORDS: 115TH CONGRESS, ACCESS, BLAISE MISZTAL, JIM JONES, KATHY ROTH-DOUQUET, KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, LEON PANETTA, STEVE BELL, TOM COTTON