Serving in the military goes well beyond the individual and to the entire family, which makes having an understanding of the issues involved even more important. It is also critical to inform policymakers from the White House to Congress, the Department of Defense, and beyond. Military families face unique needs and challenges, and there is no alternative to hearing from them directly. Increasing the dialogue between the military community and the broader public minimizes the gap between the two, and supports the health and viability of the all-volunteer force.
On December 8, the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings hosted a discussion to mark the release of the 2016 Blue Star Families annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey, one of the most critical tools to understanding the issues facing service members, veterans, and military family members.
The event opened with an introduction by Kathy Roth-Douquet of Blue Star Families. Following Roth-Douquet’s introduction, Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning gave remarks and took audience questions. Immediately after that, a panel discussion commenced. Panel participants included Cristin Orr Shiffer, senior advisor for policy and survey at Blue Star Families; and Rosalinda Maury, director for applied research and analytics at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University. Both organizations are responsible for conducting the survey. Todd Weiler, assistant secretary of defense for manpower and reserve affairs, and Senior Fellow Michael O’Hanlon of Brookings joined them. Elaine Kamarck, senior fellow and director of the Center for Effective Public Management at Brookings, moderated the panel.
Learn more by visiting bluestarfam.org/survey.
Assistant Secretary of Defense, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Department of Defense
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