This week in military community & family policy october 11, 2011


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This week in military community & family policy october 11, 2011

  1. 1. Image description. MC&FP banner image End of image description.Blog post of Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy AssistantSecretary of Defense (Military Community and FamilyPolicy)Image description. Robert L. Gordon III, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (MC&FP) End of image description.What’s Behind the Military Spouse Employment Partnership?We have always known that our military spouses are an amazingly talented and skilled group, and nowwe know employers are taking notice, too! Through the Military Spouse Employment Partnership(MSEP), Fortune 500 “PLUS” companies across America (“PLUS” meaning smaller companies,government agencies, and other organizations in addition to Fortune 500) are partnering with theDepartment of Defense to create spousal career opportunities. Since its launch on June 29th, thePartnership is off to a great start: more than 5,600 military spouses have been hired, and CEOs fromacross the United States are excited to join the Partnership and connect with our diverse pool of militaryspouses. On Oct 10, I will have the pleasure of welcoming another 24 companies to our growingpartnership at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual conference in Washington, DCwhich will bring the total number of MSEP partners to 96. These companies will join Microsoft, Hyatt,Amazon, CVSCaremark, DELL, H&R Block and many other marquee employers who value militaryspouses. We are in the process of vetting an additional 146 companies, and every day we hear fromnew companies interested in this global partnership. With 54,500 jobs posted on the site, we believeeven more of our spouses will be working and pursuing their career goals within a short time. I amexcited to share this news with you and to have a chance to highlight the positive progress we aremaking on behalf of military spouses.It’s inspiring to see such an outpouring of support from employers who are committed to our militaryspouses. As MSEP continues to grow, I believe it is critical for our spouses to understand the process bywhich these companies are selected to join our partnership. Since it can be challenging for a spouse ontheir own to find an employer who understands the demands of the military lifestyle, we place greatemphasis on the vetting and training process we use with our MSEP partners.Before these employers are signed on as partners, we also ensure they are keenly aware of the uniquechallenges facing our military spouses, which can include frequent relocations, late notifications of aloved one’s R&R time, or being the only parent at home who can care for a sick child.Second, MSEP is more than just a website for job postings; it is a unique, 21st century solution that Page 1 of 11
  2. 2. MC&FP Weekly (October 7,2011) 10/11/2011brings spouses and employers together. In doing so, MSEP levels the employment playing field formilitary spouses who must relocate frequently with their Service member. Our military spouses want toestablish careers and continue to gain education and experience, allowing them to reach their career andpersonal goals. Our partner companies want employees who are motivated, highly educated, andtremendously skilled. MSEP simply facilitates the connection between the two.I am very pleased with the progress and success to date of MSEP. As always, we must continue torefine what we do. As we look to develop the next version of our website, I encourage you to visit ourcurrent site and share your thoughts with us. What’s working? What’s not? What can we do to makethis site the very best it can be? Your questions and comments can help us improve our tools andincrease our program’s effectiveness. Please join our discussion.This is an exciting time for our career-oriented spouses, and the potential for more opportunities isgrowing every day. Until next time, be well! Page 2 of 11
  3. 3. MC&FP Weekly (October 7,2011) 10/11/2011Joining ForcesJoining ForcesFirst Lady Michelle Obama Meets with Military SpousesLast week, First Lady Michelle Obama was in Cranston, Rhode Island to meet with military spouses atthe Rhode Island Army National Guard Facility.The First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden have been traveling across the country to talk about how neighbors,communities, and the nation as whole can support our military families as part of the Joining Forcesinitiative. They have seen extraordinary examples of individuals, businesses and non-profitorganizations stepping up to support our Nation’s military families.One way to support the families of our troops is to hear stories about their experiences directly frommilitary families themselves. The roundtable conversation in Rhode Island was another opportunity forthe First Lady to listen to military spouses and let them know about some of the work that is being doneto give them the support they deserve such as the Presidents challenge to the private sector to hire ortrain unemployed veterans and their spouses by the end of 2013. Page 3 of 11
  4. 4. MC&FP Weekly (October 7,2011) 10/11/2011Weekly TipsMilitary Community and Family Policy Weekly TipsNutrition Tip of the Week - Fruits & Vegetables – Affordable? (Part II)In need of more tips to help you find fruits and vegetables on your budget? Then check these out. • Buy in bulk when items are on sale - For fresh vegetables or fruits you use often, a large size bag is the better buy. Canned or frozen fruits or vegetables can be bought in large quantities when they are on sale, since they last much longer. • Store brands = savings - Opt for store brands when possible. You will get the same or similar product for a cheaper price. If your grocery store has a membership card, sign up for even more savings. • Keep it simple - Buy vegetables and fruits in their simplest form. Pre-cut, pre-washed, ready-to- eat, and processed foods are convenient, but often cost much more than when purchased in their basic forms. • Plant your own - Start a garden — in the yard or a pot on the deck — for fresh, inexpensive, flavorful additions to meals. Herbs, cucumbers, peppers, or tomatoes are good options for beginners. Browse through a local library or online for more information on starting a garden. • Plan and cook smart - Prepare and freeze vegetable soups, stews, or other dishes in advance. This saves time and money. Add leftover vegetables to casseroles or blend them to make soup. Overripe fruit is great for smoothies or baking.Parenting Tip of the Week - Anchor for SafetyIn a recent press release, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that furniture andTV tip-over incidents are one of the top hidden hazards in the home. More than 22,000 children eightyears old and younger are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year (2008-2010) for injuriesrelated to the instability or tip-over of televisions, furniture, and appliances. The CPSC is urging parentsand caregivers to inspect and anchor furniture and TVs now, in order to protect young children from apreventable tragedy. The CPSC recommends the following safety tips in any home where children liveor visit: • Anchor furniture to the wall or the floor. • Place TVs on sturdy, low bases. Or, anchor the furniture and the TV on top of it, and push the TV as far back on the furniture as possible. • Keep remote controls, toys, and other items that might attract children off TV stands or furniture. • Keep TVs and cords out of reach of children. • Make sure freestanding kitchen ranges and stoves are installed with anti-tip brackets. • Supervise children in rooms where these safety tips have not been followed.Let’s Move/Childhood Obesity Tip of the Week - Balance caloriesFind out how many calories you need for a day as a first step in managing your weight. Go to theChooseMyPlate website to find your calorie level. Being physically active also helps you balancecalories. Page 4 of 11
  5. 5. MC&FP Weekly (October 7,2011) 10/11/2011Enjoy your food, but eat less. Take the time to fully enjoy your food as you eat it. Eating too fast orwhen your attention is elsewhere may lead to eating too many calories. Pay attention to hunger andfullness cues before, during, and after meals. Use them to recognize when to eat and when you’ve hadenough.Avoid oversized portions. Use a smaller plate, bowl, and glass. Portion out foods before you eat. Wheneating out, choose a smaller size option, share a dish, or take home part of your meal.Financial Tip of the Week - Credit RepairEveryday, companies target people who have poor credit histories with promises to clean up their creditreports so they can get a car loan, a home mortgage, insurance, or even a job – after paying a fee for theservice. The truth is that no one can remove accurate negative information from your credit report. Itsillegal.What You Need to KnowWhen negative information in your report is accurate, only the passage of time can assure that it will beremoved. A consumer reporting company can report most accurate negative information for seven yearsand can report bankruptcy information for 10 years. If you get an offer to repair or fix your credit, howcan you know if it’s legitimate? Here are some signs that should set off alarms in your head – and makeyou put the offer in the trash: • The company wants you to pay for credit repair services before they provide any services.Fact: Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies cannot require you to payuntil they have completed the credit repair services they promised.The company doesn’t tell you your rights and what you can do for yourself for free.Fact: The law allows you to ask for an investigation of information in your file that you dispute asinaccurate or incomplete. This investigation doesn’t cost any money. • The company recommends that you don’t contact any of the three major national consumer reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) directly.Fact: Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the consumer reporting company and theinformation provider (the person, company, or organization that provides information about you to theconsumer reporting company) must correct inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To takeadvantage of all your rights under the FCRA, contact the consumer reporting company and theinformation provider in writing. • The company tells you they can get rid of most or all the negative credit information in your credit report, even if the information is accurate and current.Fact: Any credit repair company that claims to be able to legally remove accurate and timelyinformation from your credit report is lying. There’s no easy fix for bad credit. Improving your credittakes time and a conscious effort to pay your debts. Page 5 of 11
  6. 6. MC&FP Weekly (October 7,2011) 10/11/2011 • The company suggests that you apply for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security number so you can invent a “new” credit identity – and then, a new credit report.Fact: If you follow illegal advice like this, you may find yourself in hot water. It’s a federal crime to lieon a loan or credit application, to misrepresent your Social Security number, or to get an EmployerIdentification Number from the Internal Revenue Service under false pretenses. You could be chargedand prosecuted for mail or wire fraud if you use the mail, telephone, or Internet to apply for credit andprovide false information.Military OneSource Tip of the Week - How to Keep Your Relationship Strong DuringDeploymentsDeployments, moves, and long separations can strain even the strongest relationship. But there are waysyou and your spouse can nurture your partnership through the ups and downs of a military career. • Plan ahead for when you’re apart. Sit down and discuss your upcoming separation, including finances, household responsibilities, and staying in touch. • Communicate openly and frequently. Keep in touch as frequently as possible. Talk about day- to-day happenings as well as big events. As much as possible, try to keep a positive attitude in your communications. • Understand that you may change when you are apart. Reassure one another that regardless of your individual changes, your love will stay as strong as ever.Find out more from the Military OneSource article, Maintaining a Strong Relationship ThroughDeployments and Separations, available at the Military OneSource website.Spouse Tip of the Week - Operating a Home Based Business From Military Family HousingIn accordance with the Military Family Act, Public Law 99-145, “DoD Authorization Act, November 8,1985, Section 806, Employment Opportunities for Military Spouses,” the Department of Defenseencourages the use of military family housing for certain limited commercial activities. Although thespecific implementing policies and procedures may vary slightly for each Military Service, the followinginformation generally applies. It is important to note that the policies that govern your situation will bethose of your host installation which may vary from your military sponsor’s branch of Service.Before launching your own business from military family housing, you must seek written permissionfrom your installation commander usually via your installation Housing Authority (HA). HousingAuthority officials will ensure that housing occupants are well aware of requirements that must be metprior to the conduct of any business enterprise from a military housing unit. Worldwide points of contactfor Military Housing Offices are available from the MilitaryINSTALLATIONS website.Common Types of Home Based Businesses Operated in Military Family Housing Units include: • direct sales of products • limited manufacturing of items • minor repairs on small items such as: watches, jewelry and electronics Page 6 of 11
  7. 7. MC&FP Weekly (October 7,2011) 10/11/2011 • incidental services such as: ◦ animal training, grooming, walking ◦ tailoring, sewing and dressmaking ◦ tax preparation and accounting services ◦ child, special needs/respite, and elder care ◦ scheduled transportation ◦ bookkeeping, billing, and medical insurance coding ◦ food preparation: catering, cakes, and specialty foods ◦ housecleaning, lawn care, painting, home maintenance, and odd jobs ◦ appraisals, auctions, and estate sales ◦ haircuts/styling, manicures/pedicures, facials, massage, and fitness coaching ◦ graphic design, architecture, engineering, and professional and management consulting ◦ lessons: art, music, dance, sewing, crafts, needlework, and computer skills ◦ teaching and tutoring services: English as a second language/foreign languages, homework help, and remedial assistance ◦ word processing, transcription services, information brokering and business intelligence ◦ employee recruiting/headhunting, and executive coaching ◦ writing, publishing, computer programming, website development and usability ◦ computer maintenance, troubleshooting, and help desk service import/export brokeringRegulatory Guidance:DoD Directive 5500.7, Standards of Conduct, and Military Service regulationsMilitary Standards of Conduct prohibit solicited sales to subordinates (personnel junior in rank or grade)and must be a condition for granting approval to conduct commercial activities in family housing.DoD Directive 1344.7, Personal Commercial Solicitation on DoD Installations, Section F,paragraph 4mProhibits door-to-door solicitation (in person or via printed materials). Allows advertising of addressesand telephone numbers of commercial sales activities conducted in military housing.Issues considered by Installation Commanders when authorizing a commercial activity: • local government licensing requirements • applicable federal, state and local ordinances • potential government liability • overseas status of forces agreements (SOFAs) • host country business practices • prospective advertising practicesNote: Legal advice must be sought if doubt exists concerning these issues.Commanders may not authorize a commercial enterprise: • at the expense of military community tranquility, harmony among neighbors, or safety, or • that requires external housing unit alterations or external housing unit advertising. Page 7 of 11
  8. 8. MC&FP Weekly (October 7,2011) 10/11/2011Commanders may authorize: • Housing occupants are allowed to make minor modifications to housing units, if approved in advance. Modification and restoration costs are the responsibility of the housing occupant. Approvals will be processed under existing regulations which govern projects in family housing. Housing occupants are responsible for returning the housing unit to its original condition prior to vacating quarters. • Utility costs associated with some enterprises will be recouped when such collections are cost effective. Cost effectiveness will be determined by the local base civil engineer. • Sales of merchandise not available through the Military Exchanges should not be construed to be competing with an installation’s official sanctioned commerce.Liability Insurance:Personal liability is a serious matter for all business owners, including those working out of militaryfamily housing units. Business applicants need to obtain personal liability insurance which will apply tolegal actions brought by customers as well as covering the applicant for damages to governmentproperty.Relocation Tip of the Week - Take Charge of Your MoveBeing fully prepared for a move is the best way to reduce relocation stress. As soon as you have orders,get a notebook, personal digital assistant (PDA), or other small planning device, call it your "movingbook" and start planning. Assess your financial situation, determine what youll need, make inventories,establish a timetable, get information on the new location, and set aside some time to deal with yourfeelings. Allow everyone in the family to participate. Page 8 of 11
  9. 9. MC&FP Weekly (October 7,2011) 10/11/2011In the NewsWeve captured the latest Quality of Life (QOL) information, as well as recent additions to the MilitaryCommunity & Family Policy (MC&FP) collection of websites, including MilitaryHOMEFRONT. Allin one location! For a complete listing of QoL topic areas and information, please return to theMilitaryHOMEFRONT homepage.In the NewsNotable Quality of Life developments and Department of Defense announcements and alerts.Success Before Stress: Keeping Relationships HealthyMilitary couples face incredibly challenging stressors together. Those couples who remain resilient oftenfind themselves with stronger relationships when the dust settles. However, many of the unique stressorsimposed on military couples may chip away at the fabric of safety and peace within the relationship.Special-needs Families Offer Insight on ChallengesA panel of ten families with special needs offered suggestions for countering ongoing challenges duringan exceptional family member panel held last week.Troops Should Budget Wisely in Face of Fluctuating COLAsPentagon officials are reminding service members stationed overseas to leave out cost-of-living paywhen planning their personal budgets, due to fluctuations in the rate. The cost-of-living allowance, orCOLA, paid to those stationed outside of the continental United States to off-set foreign costs, routinelyis affected by the economy and fluctuates from pay period to pay period.Know the Facts – What is Domestic Abuse?Under a definition developed by the Department of Defense, domestic abuse involves a range ofdifferent acts by an abuser directed against a person of the opposite sex who is a current or formerspouse of the abuser, a person with whom the abuser shares a child in common, or a current or formerintimate partner of the abuser with whom the abuser shares or has shared a home. Domestic abuse canhappen in any couple.DoD Program Gives Spouses Career OptionsRobert L. Gordon III, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and FamilyPolicy, joined a DoD Live "bloggers roundtable" to explain how the Military Spouse EmploymentPartnership is giving spouses more career and education options.TRICARE Changes Cost for PrescriptionsTRICARE changed the cost for prescription meds on Oct 1. What does that mean for you? Rear Adm.Christine Hunter, Deputy Director for TRICARE Management Activity, explains the changes and howmuch you can expect to pay for your next refill.DoDEA and HHS Join Forces to Launch Stop Bullying Now! Campaign in DoDEA SchoolsThe Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) and the Department of Health and HumanServices (HHS) have joined forces to launch the "Stop Bullying Now! Take a Stand. Lend a Hand"campaign. The campaign will help unify efforts and build a common understanding of, and expectationsfor, DoDEAs commitment and action to prevent bullying.DoD Appoints Chief Operating Officer at the Armed Forces Retirement Home Page 9 of 11
  10. 10. MC&FP Weekly (October 7,2011) 10/11/2011Mr. Steve McManus officially assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer (COO), Armed ForcesRetirement Home on Sept. 25. McManus has served as Acting COO since January 16th.Officials Aim to Manage TRICARE Costs, Preserve Future BenefitsModest increases to certain aspects of military health care will help to responsibly manage costs andensure benefits for future service members, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs saidtoday.Know the Facts – What Signs May Indicate DangerVictims of abuse can be of any age, income level, educational background, or culture. Although there isnot a checklist that a victim can go through to see if he or she is likely to get involved in an abusiverelationship, there are some factors that seem to be common in the background of victims of domesticabuse. Page 10 of 11
  11. 11. MC&FP Weekly (October 7,2011) 10/11/2011Guard and ReserveImage description. Two National Guard service members End of image description.Oct. 7-9 - Guard and Reserve - Redmond, OROct. 8 - Guard and Reserve - Caribou, MEOct. 14-16 - Guard and Reserve - Hilo, HIOct. 14-16 - Guard and Reserve - Kalispell, MTOct. 15-16 - Guard and Reserve - Rome, NYOct. 15-16 - Texam Military Forces - Temple, TXOct. 21-22 - Guard and Reserve - Kearney, NEOct. 21-22 - Guard and Reserve - Yakima, WAOct. 22 - Guard and Reserve - San Pedro, CAOct. 23 - Guard and Reserve - Coleville, CA Page 11 of 11