Today, Second Lady Karen Pence, joined by the Secretary of Defense’s wife, Leah Esper, traveled to U. S. Army Fort Campbell to encourage and show appreciation for the military spouses. There, Mrs. Pence delivered remarks, emphasizing the significant role spouses play in the strength of the United States Army. She recognized that along with their service, comes many challenges such as finding employment.
Currently, 34% of military spouses work in fields that require a state license in order to practice and face a 24% unemployment rate. Mrs. Pence highlighted how these challenges are being addressed under the Trump Administration. She specifically noted the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that President Trump signed last December. The new law gave a 3.1% pay raise for service members; doubled the relicensing and recertification reimbursement costs from $500 to $1,000 for when a military spouse has a permanent change of station; and changed residency requirements so now military spouses can retain their state of residency for business purposes, if they move out of the state as a result of a change of station.
“Military spouses deserve the opportunity to find meaningful jobs and are great assets to our American workforce,” said Mrs. Pence. “They do so much for the strength and readiness of our Armed Forces and we are working to improve their quality of life.”
In addition to speaking to military spouses, Mrs. Pence participated in a senior military briefing and visited the Intrepid Spirit Center at Fort Campbell’s art therapy program. The center focuses on traumatic brain injury identification and recovery for active service members.
Second Lady’s Military Spouse Campaign
Mrs. Pence launched a campaign in September of 2018 to honor and highlight the service of military spouses while also recognizing their unique employment challenges. Mrs. Pence has traveled the country meeting spouses, business leaders, and government officials advocating for more fulfilling career opportunities for military spouses.