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Army secretary: ‘I want to put dollars’ into child care for families


February 8, 2019
Karen Jowers
Military Times

Soldiers’ challenges in finding good child care may be one of the biggest issues that Army Secretary Mark Esper hears about when he visits installations, so he’s tackling that issue with dollars and policies, he said.

“Child care is very important, so I want to put dollars there and I want to make sure we get the policies right,” said Esper during a town hall meeting Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army. “I’ve got a lot of military kids who are not in on-base child care, and they should be. So it’s things like that I’m going to change, either from a funding perspective or a policy perspective.”

It’s not clear how his budget plans will affect other family programs. Asked about how his plans for modernizing the Army might affect these programs, Esper said he’s “willing to cut any program that’s not delivering an adequate return, or that I think is a lower priority than something else.”

Too often, the Army has tried to spread the money across multiple programs for families, and “we’ve left important parts of Army family unsatisfied,” he said. He’s listened to Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey and other leaders, Army families and family readiness groups, and wants to reallocate dollars “to the things they want,” he said.

Child care on military installations has long been recognized as top-notch by military parents, but there’s just not enough of it in some places, across the service branches.