Here’s One Way Military Spouses Can Help Shape Programs for Their Community

Here’s One Way Military Spouses Can Help Shape Programs for Their Community
Photo by Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

Military spouses, watch your mailbox and inbox: You may be among those invited to participate in the 2021 DoD Active Duty Spouses Survey to provide insight on the unique effects of military life on career, well-being, and financial condition.

 

Invited participants will receive a letter and email with instructions to complete the survey. The results, which will be available later this year, will help DoD shape policies and programs to improve quality of life for military families. Your participation is vital to ensuring the issues you are facing are properly addressed.

 

This survey is a rare chance for spouses to highlight important issues such as child care availability, PCS moving problems, spouse employment, and the quality of schools. Do not miss the chance to elevate these issues to military senior leaders who understand that to retain a highly skilled servicemember, they must retain their spouse.

 

The results of these surveys can drive policy change and investment into military communities. This is a good data-driven method to improve military families’ quality of life.

 

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The DoD-administered survey uses a scientific, random sampling of spouses, then generalizes results to the entire spouse population upon completion. The 2020 survey wasn’t fielded because of the COVID-19 pandemic; results of the 2019 survey can be found here. Unlike previous years, spouses not specifically invited to participate will have the opportunity to weigh in.

 

This survey takes approximately 15 minutes and covers topics ranging from child care and employment/unemployment to food insecurity and residential issues. If you didn’t receive an invitation, you can still make your opinions known to DoD at this link. To ensure the target audience is reached, you’ll be asked to enter your date of birth and DoD ID number (found on your dependent ID card). Whether or not you receive an invitation, participation is voluntary and confidential.

 

These annual surveys provide a glimpse at the experiences and attitudes of active duty spouses across all DoD branches (Coast Guard spouses are not eligible as they fall under Department of Homeland Security). A separate survey is conducted for reserve component spouses.

 

In the past, MOAA has used data from these surveys to craft programs to help improve employment opportunities for military spouses. Knowing the challenges our community faces when it comes to employment and underemployment sparked MOAA to create the Remote Telework Grant opportunity, a program that provides laptops and remote work documents to military spouses employed by small businesses.

 

[RELATED: Here’s How MOAA’s Telework Grant Program Has Helped These Military Spouses]

 

The survey results also help MOAA craft the program for our award-winning “Keeping a Career on the Move” Military Spouse Symposium, which we look forward to bringing to installations worldwide as in-person events are possible. We know firsthand how difficult it is to keep a career on the move, which is why MOAA published a free Military Spouse Employment Guide with important resources, tips, and interactive worksheets to help you enter or reenter the workforce at your own pace.

 

MOAA will continue to use this important survey data to improve programs as well as to help craft our legislative priorities for the military spouse and family community. Survey results provide insight into what issues need immediate attention during discussions with lawmakers.

 

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About the Author

Jen Goodale
Jen Goodale

Goodale is MOAA's Director of Government Relations for Military Family Policy and Spouse Programs.