By Debbie Gregory.
In what would have been almost unheard of in past decades, a new survey of military families revealed that a majority of active-duty military families — 57 percent of them — said they were unlikely to recommend that their own children join the service.
In the past, military families tended to remain military families. But the Blue Star Families survey revealed a shift, which could be due to the multiple deployments faced by current and recent servicemembers. In the past 15 years, servicemen and women have been sent on multiple rotations to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Another factor, according to Kathy Roth-Douquet, president and CEO of Blue Star Families, is the cuts in benefits.
“It’s the reductions in forces at the same time as we are increasing our mission,” said Roth-Douquet.
Blue Star said 72 percent of active duty personnel and their spouses found the rate of deployments created too much stress for them. “Among active duty and military spouses who indicated they planned to leave service in the next two years, deployment was the top stressor for both groups with 83 percent and 85 percent, respectively,” the report reads.
Repeated moves also have a serious effect on military spouse employment. Many spouses cannot get or keep jobs. More than 20 percent are unemployed, the survey found, and many more are underemployed.
Fewer than half of military families in which one spouse is a civilian earn two incomes, compared to 66 percent of non-military couples, the survey found.