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Unemployment Among Military Spouses Is A Problem That’s Not Going Away
Military spouse unemployment is a serious problem for the 641,639 people who are married to active-duty service members. Nearly half of those significant others are unemployed, according to a new study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released on June 14.
“It’s dismal and just depressing,” Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Wine and co-founder of the nonprofit Hire the Homefront, which works to link military spouses to freelance jobs, told Task & Purpose. “It doesn’t paint a rosy picture about the state of military spouse employment.”
In a survey of 1,273 spouses of active-duty service members, the Chamber found that a whopping 92% of them are women, and 52% are in the job market — but they are not happy with the situation. Only 38% work full time, with the other 14% working just part time or seasonal jobs.
Technically, however, only 10% are considered unemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics definition, which states you must be not working and actively seeking a job.
Still, the survey suggests 38% of spouses are out of the workforce entirely.
That has a real economic impact. The advocacy group Blue Star Families released a report in 2016 that showed military spouse unemployment could be costing the U.S. economy anywhere between $710 million and $1 billion a year.
Permanent change of station, an inevitable part of military life, plays a major role in military spouses’ inability to get jobs. Sixty-seven percent reported having to quit their jobs for their spouse’s military career, according to the Chamber.
“It’s on everybody’s minds, but you don’t really see anything changing,” Wine said.
Many of these spouses report that they don’t work in careers that match their skill level, education level, or prior salaries. The report found that 49% have completed college degrees or higher levels of education. But many are also raising kids, and 70% of their children are under age 11.
“Military spouses with degrees face the greatest challenges in nearly every measurable employment category,” according to the Chamber of Commerce release. “They face the highest rates of unemployment and the most difficulty finding meaningful work.”
At the final destination of a PCS move, many employers will not entertain job applications from military spouses because their tenure could be short-lived: Some 41% of those spouses surveyed said that this was the reason they were passed over for a job.
As a result, 44% of these spouses report that their families are living paycheck-to-paycheck, because they need a second income that simply isn’t available. And that has an impact on family morale.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or how strong your marriage is,” Wine said. “The other partner is always going to wonder: ‘What about me, what about my career?’”
Wine suggested that spouses look at the freelance market, which eliminates geography as a factor.
“I do think everyone is well-intentioned, but I don’t necessarily believe a solution is going to come from [the Defense Department],” Wine said. “The way the military is structured, you need to have people move. Reducing that is a good thing, but you’re never going to be able to get rid of it.”
Advocacy groups and nonprofits alike are working to fill the gaps where DoD is unable to provide solutions, but their impact has not been measured. For now, the prospects for spouses seeking jobs remain fairly grim.
The Marine lieutenant colonel who was removed from command of 1st Reconnaissance Battalion in May is accused of lying to investigators looking into allegations of misconduct, according to a copy of his charge sheet provided to Task & Purpose on Monday.
President Donald Trump just can't stop telling stories about former Defense Secretary James Mattis. This time, the president claims Mattis said U.S. troops were so perilously low on ammunition that it would be better to hold off launching a military operation.
"You know, when I came here, three years ago almost, Gen. Mattis told me, 'Sir, we're very low on ammunition,'" Trump recalled on Monday at the White House. "I said, 'That's a horrible thing to say.' I'm not blaming him. I'm not blaming anybody. But that's what he told me because we were in a position with a certain country, I won't say which one; we may have had conflict. And he said to me: 'Sir, if you could, delay it because we're very low on ammunition.'
"And I said: You know what, general, I never want to hear that again from another general," Trump continued. "No president should ever, ever hear that statement: 'We're low on ammunition.'"
This 400-pound feral hog is one of more than 1,200 that have invaded a Texas Air Force base since 2016
At least one Air Force base is waging a slow battle against feral hogs — and way, way more than 30-50 of them.
A Texas trapper announced on Monday that his company had removed roughly 1,200 feral hogs from Joint Base San Antonio property at the behest of the service since 2016.
In a move that could see President Donald Trump set foot on North Korean soil again, Kim Jong Un has invited the U.S. leader to Pyongyang, a South Korean newspaper reported Monday, as the North's Foreign Ministry said it expected stalled nuclear talks to resume "in a few weeks."
A letter from Kim, the second Trump received from the North Korean leader last month, was passed to the U.S. president during the third week of August and came ahead of the North's launch of short-range projectiles on Sept. 10, the South's Joongang Ilbo newspaper reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.
In the letter, Kim expressed his willingness to meet the U.S. leader for another summit — a stance that echoed Trump's own remarks just days earlier.
Constant deployments broke the Air Force's B-1 fleet. Now the service is facing a major bomber shortfall
On April 14, 2018, two B-1B Lancer bombers fired off payloads of Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles against weapons storage plants in western Syria, part of a shock-and-awe response to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons against his citizens that also included strikes from Navy destroyers and submarines.
In all, the two bombers fired 19 JASSMs, successfully eliminating their targets. But the moment would ultimately be one of the last — and certainly most publicized — strategic strikes for the aircraft before operations began to wind down for the entire fleet.
A few months after the Syria strike, Air Force Global Strike Command commander Gen. Tim Ray called the bombers back home. Ray had crunched the data, and determined the non-nuclear B-1 was pushing its capabilities limit. Between 2006 and 2016, the B-1 was the sole bomber tasked continuously in the Middle East. The assignment was spread over three Lancer squadrons that spent one year at home, then six month deployed — back and forth for a decade.
The constant deployments broke the B-1 fleet. It's no longer a question of if, but when the Air Force and Congress will send the aircraft to the Boneyard. But Air Force officials are still arguing the B-1 has value to offer, especially since it's all the service really has until newer bombers hit the flight line in the mid-2020s.