This time, DoD wants to hear from every active duty military spouse


For the first time, all active-duty military spouses will be able to participate in the Department of Defense Active Duty Spouse Survey, which was launched today.

The survey is available in two tracks: DoD’s traditional, randomly and scientifically selected group of active duty spouses; and an opportunity for all other active-duty spouses to take part in an open, online survey.

Officials use the survey results to consider ways to adjust family policy and programs. The survey gathers data on issues such as satisfaction with the military lifestyle, support services and other military benefits, spouse employment, child care, financial stability, and the overall health and well-being of spouses, children and families.

DoD is still sending a survey invitation by email or mail to the scientifically selected sample, with a code to enter online. So spouses should watch their mail boxes and email in-boxes.

But this year, officials are soliciting input from all active duty spouses on key issues, challenges and concerns. Spouses can visit DoD’s survey portal to complete the short survey. The survey portal is the same for each track of the survey, but information was not immediately available about whether the surveys are the same for both tracks. Those in the broader group enter their DoD ID number and day of birth, which verifies they are an active-duty spouse before they gain access to the survey. The responses remain confidential, and their personal information will not be linked to any survey responses.

Several organizations conduct open online surveys of the military community, which are not scientific samplings. But this new, additional level of DoD survey — an addition to their traditional scientific sampling — opens up the opportunity for more input that is verified as coming from active duty spouses.

Patricia Montes Barron, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military community and family policy, told Military Times in April that one of her goals is to bring more voices of military spouses into DoD.

The surveys will help DoD officials “to engage in deeper dialogue” with spouses, “and help us prioritize solutions that meet their most pressing needs,” Barron said, in an announcement of the survey launch. “We’re proud of the progress we have made on important spouse issues, especially around stress, relationship support and employment. We know there is more to do, and these survey results will help guide our next steps.”

The last survey of active duty spouses, conducted by DoD in 2019 before the pandemic, showed increased signs of stress and distress among spouses, with fewer active duty spouses reporting satisfaction with the military lifestyle, and fewer supporting their service member staying in the military. Researchers randomly selected 65,207 active duty spouses to participate in the 2019 survey; more than 10,000 spouses responded, for a response rate of 16.5 percent.

In December, 2020, when the results of the 2019 survey were released, a DoD official said the 2021 spouse survey will include questions that address the impact of the pandemic.

Information was not immediately available about how long the survey will be available online.





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