Two senators plan to propose an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would make it easier for professional military spouses to keep working after a move. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and cosponsored by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), would allow spouses to be reimbursed up to $500 for the cost of being relicensed or recertified in a new state after a permanent change of station. In a letter of support sent to Casey and Moran on Wednesday, the Military Officers Association of America noted that a study it performed with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families found 50 percent of military spouses work in fields that require licensing or certification. As a result, they can be forced to take jobs they are overqualified for when they relocate; the study found they earn an average of 38 percent less than their civilian counterparts. “Maintaining consistent employment remains a major challenge for military spouses,” the letter noted. But financial reimbursement “would ease the financial burden” and “get spouses back into the job market as quickly as possible.” More than 20 organizations, including the Air Force Association, signed MOAA’s letter. Brooke Goldberg, MOAA’s deputy director of government relations, said more organizations are still signing on in support. Senators are expected to begin debate on the NDAA next week.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.