Rewind to April, 2011. President Barack Obama had been in office just over 2 years. We had been at war for about 10 years. And First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, spouse of Vice President Joe Biden, kicked-off a White House military office program to promote military spouse and veteran support called “Joining Forces.”
In the five years since the program launched it has helped the Defense Department advocate for military spouse license portability rules in every state, promoted military spouse and veteran employment through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership, advocated for spouse and veteran hiring through national media and events, extended free National Park passes to military families, supported military spouse and families through entertainment and other features and done some very high-visibility work for our community.
And while the initiative has been criticized in the past for what could appear to be taking advantage of military family and veteran issues for the limelight, or “window dressing,” it’s clear that the program has made an impact.
But should it go away now?
With the entrance of a new, wildly different administration, the fate of Joining Forces is unknown, as our friends over at Military Times report. There’s no question that we want to see White House support for military families regardless of who is running the nation. But does it need to be Joining Forces? Is it time for the White House Military Office to start something new? Or should specific program-driven military family support leave the White House with the current president?
Take our poll and tell us what you think.