For the first time, ensuring the welfare and well-being of service members and their families is on the list of “Top 10 Management Challenges” for the Department of Defense.
The recent Office of Inspector General report listed a number of issues that affect the health, safety, and well-being of service members and their families such as faultily constructed military housing, childcare shortages and spousal unemployment.
Navy wife Alicia Makowski said her son Elija is growing up just like she did: in a military family. But Makowski said caring for servicemembers and their families should be a top priority for the military.
“I think that it took them a very long time and there’s been issues for way too long,” Makowski said.
Testimony from military families before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2019 described conditions such as mold, poor water quality, contamination from lead-based paint, carbon monoxide, radon, faulty construction and infestations, the OIG report said
Military spouse Allysa Wolfe said she was concerned about the state of military housing because much of it is now privatized.
One woman said there was a two year waiting list for a preschool near Tierrasanta military housing.
The mental health of service members was also a concern, the OIG report said. The impact of sexual assaults, and suicide in the military were also listed as primary concerns
One military spouse told NBC 7 there is a fear in the military that seeing a counselor could jeopardize the military career they have worked so hard to build.
“So they kind of try to hold it in and that’s not something they can hold in,” Makowski said.
Another spouse said there simply is not enough time in the day to go and get help.
Other challenges on the "Top 10" list include countering Russia, Iran, China, North Korea and ensuring ethical conduct.