Today, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III announced immediate and long-term actions to help strengthen the economic security and stability of service members and their families.
Recognizing the extraordinary pressures that military families face, Secretary Austin has directed the following actions in four key areas:
To help secure affordable basic needs, the Secretary has directed the Department to:
- Review the prospective 2023 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) tables to ensure calculations reflect the unusually dynamic fluctuations in the housing market.
- Institute automatic increases in BAH for active-duty Service members in the 28 Military Housing Areas (MHAs) that have experienced an average of more than 20 percent spike in rental housing costs this year above this year’s BAH rates. These automatic increases will go into effect in October 2022.
The 28 Military Housing Areas are: Vandenberg SFB, MCB Twenty Nine Palms and San Diego in California; Dover AFB/ Rehoboth, Delaware; Patrick SFB, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Volusia County, Fort Myers Beach in Florida; Kings Bay/Brunswick, Georgia; Maui County, Hawaii; Chicago, Illinois; Boston, Cape Cod-Plymouth, and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; Brunswick and Coastal Maine; Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Helena, Montana; Wilmington, North Carolina; Northern New Jersey; Newport and Providence in Rhode Island; Beaufort/Parris Island, South Carolina; Knoxville, Tennessee; Houston, Texas; and Quantico/Woodbridge, Virginia.
- Fully fund our commissaries to cut prices at the register, with goal of achieving at least a 25 percent savings on grocery bills compared to the local marketplace.
- Pay eligible Service members the Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) starting January 2023. The BNA is a supplemental allowance for Service members with dependents who apply and qualify based on their gross household income.
- In addition, the President’s budget includes a 4.6 percent pay increase for Service members starting Jan. 1, 2023
To further ease the process of Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves, the Secretary has directed the Department to:
- Permanently increase standard TLE maximum coverage from 10 to 14 days for CONUS moves and allow up to 60 days of TLE if a Service member is in a specified Military Housing Area with a housing shortage, to take effect in October 2022.
- Increase the Dislocation Allowance (DLA) for E-1 to E-6 Service members, to further help offset personal expenses for PCS moves. DLA payments for all Service members will be paid automatically one month prior to their move date to pre-empt out-of-pocket expenses. This will take effect in October 2022.
- Continue improvements to Military OneSource online moving and housing tools.
To further strengthen support to families, the Secretary has directed the Department:
- Make significant investments in Child Development Program (CDP) facilities and infrastructure to further expand our capacity to provide quality childcare.
- Standardize a minimum 50 percent discount for the first child of CDP direct-care workers, helping to attract more talented staff and to increase capacity. This will take effect in October 2022.
- Improve access to childcare programs and resources such as Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood and expand the in-home childcare fee-assistance pilot program to additional states to provide more options to military families.
- Military Child Development Centers hours have already extended their hours to better account for Service members’ varied schedules. The Department has also reached out to additional high-quality, community-based childcare providers who agree to care for military families using DODs fee-assistance program.
- The Department has also previously expanded parental leave policies to cover non-chargeable leave following the birth or adoption of a child for active duty and eligible Reserve Component Service members; established a New Parent Support Program; and updated policies to reimburse nursing Service members for shipment of breast milk when on mandated temporary duty travel.
To further enhance employment opportunities for military spouses, the Secretary has directed the Department:
- Accelerate the development of seven additional occupational licensure interstate compacts with organizations representing multiple professions, easing burdens for spouses who must transfer professional licenses or credentials with each move.
- Increase the use of non-competitive, direct hiring authorities for military spouses in the Department of Defense and further expand remote work and telework options to help military spouses build portable careers.
- Launch a new career-accelerator pilot initiative that will match military spouses with paid private-sector fellowships in a variety of career paths. This will take effect in January 2023.
- Increase the number of partners in the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP) by 10 percent before January 2023. MSEP is critical in connecting DOD spouses to organizations committed to hiring them.
The memorandum for Taking Care of Our Service Members and Families can be found here.