The Military Family Advisory Network has recently published its Military Family Support Programming Survey, and it was not good news for military recruiters. The survey found that there was a drop of 11.6 percent from 2019 to 2021 in whether military and veteran families would recommend military life.
There are a variety of reasons why they would not recommend military life, among the reasons are: “that it is not family-friendly; the pay is low compared to the stress of the work; bad leadership; benefits like health care are not worth the struggles of military life; and the frequent moves and deployments.” Fewer Military Families Would Recommend Uniformed Service, Survey Finds – Defense One.
Congress has held a number of hearings this year that directly impact military families, and none of them were good. A few hearings were about the neglect by privatized companies contracted to manage military housing. In the last couple of years, military families have resorted to speaking to the media to voice their complaints about excessive mold and lack of maintenance in military housing.
The survey found that 44 percent of the on-base resident respondents were not satisfied with the privatized housing. The survey also asked whether the privatized military housing conditions have improved, worsened, or are unchanged since they have garnered national media attention. Sadly 63.8 percent reported that conditions have gone unchanged for the past two years.
Of those who experienced improvement following media attention, they recalled almost immediately after the articles regarding privatized housing problems were released, “there was a dramatic change in the time it took for housing issues to be resolved.” Those who did not see improvement said, “their privatized housing company relies on shady quick fixes in house issues. Houses are old and always have something needing repair.”
For weeks, the Department of Defense has revealed that all services are struggling to meet their recruiting goals. “An internal Defense Department survey obtained by NBC News found that only 9 percent of those young Americans eligible to serve in the military had any inclination to do so, the lowest number since 2007.
“More than half of the young Americans who answered the survey, about 57 percent, think they would have emotional or psychological problems after serving in the military. Nearly half think they would have physical problems.” According to nbcnews.com every branch of the U.S. military is struggling to meet its 202 recruiting goals, officials say.
This is no surprise to advocates when some military bases and ships have become infamous for their high suicide and sexual assault rates.
To those leaders who don’t know how to fix this, talk to your service members and their families. But to save time and money, most commanders already have the tool at their fingertips, and that is the Command Climate Survey. It should be used to correct the toxic work environments and reveal toxic leaders.