Faced with an estimated shortage of 31,000 military child care spaces in military dependent care facilities, DOD officials are adding modular buildings, constructing new child care centers, and contracting with civilian centers. New facilities on military bases will soon provide for about 4,000 children of active duty and reserve service personnel. That still leaves about 27,000 kids on wait lists. Jan Witte, director of DOD’s Office of Children and Youth, says the focus is on bases with demanding deployment rates and those gaining troops redeploying from overseas bases. DOD’s current annual tab on military child care is $434 million, and DOD has spent $60 million in supplemental funding over the last three years, just to extend child care services for children with one or both parents deployed overseas.
Americans’ trust and confidence in the U.S. military has declined precipitously in recent months, according to the results of a survey. Experts lay the blame on increasing political polarization and the fallout from this summer’s turbulent withdrawal from Afghanistan.