Why You Should Take the 2024 Survey of Active Duty Spouses
Are you an active-duty military spouse interested in giving the Defense Department a piece of your mind about military quality of life? 2024 is your year because the Pentagon actively seeks participants for its quality of life survey.
Since 1985, military spouses have had the opportunity to speak their minds about military quality of life and related issues thanks to the biannual survey administered by the Pentagon.
There are nearly 600 thousand active-duty spouses. The DoD hopes to hear from enough of them over the eight-week survey period (ongoing at the time of this writing) to draw substantive conclusions from the data.
A “scientific” portion of the survey involves more than 70 thousand spouses contacted and invited to speak their minds. The survey has been used to determine what then-current issues affect military members and their families and as a “temperature check” on morale.
In 2021, the survey expanded from active-duty military spouses only to “any spouse” verifiable by the DoD.
Why You Should Participate in the 2024 Survey of Active Duty Spouses
A federal spokesperson was quoted by Army Times about how the military will use the data gathered in the survey, noting, “Defense officials will rely on the 2024 survey’s findings to make decisions that best meet spouses’ needs…” but there is another reason to consider taking part.
The survey asks how they feel about military life in general, spouse employment, relocation, and child care. But a certain percentage of those considering the survey may consider taking a pass because they assume their answers will be only one among thousands, without any real impact. Should these people reconsider?
In a nutshell, yes. Military spouses’ voices are more important than ever, and military policy changes in the last two years show taking part in a survey like this is NOT an exercise in futility.
Direct Results of the 2021 Active Duty Survey
In 2021, the Survey of Active Duty Spouses revealed something crucial: food insecurity was a growing problem in the ranks. Army Times reports that “nearly half” of those surveyed reported a food security issue of some kind. And that data wound up bringing ACTION from lawmakers who seemed frankly appalled at the idea that food insecurity was even an issue among troops.
It’s the sort of morale and welfare trending data military leaders want to know about. And the 2021 survey seems to have been a catalyst for an addition to the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, the comparatively new Basic Needs Allowance or BNA.
The BNA was created to directly address that food insecurity issue. The Basic Needs Allowance was created to help junior enlisted troops get within 130% of the federal poverty guidelines for the calendar year, plus location and household size.
The creation of the BNA seems to have been a direct result of the survey. And by implication, spouse voices matter to military leadership. Hence our headline.
Without the survey, would the food insecurity problem have come to light or be addressed in the same way? It’s impossible to speculate, but some feel the outcome would be much different without the help of that survey.
How to Participate in the 2024 Survey of Active Duty Military Spouses
As the name implies, the survey is meant for military spouses to complete. It is not for active duty military members or dependent children. You can take part by completing a short survey which takes about five minutes to complete once you are in the system. Go to DoDsurveys.mil to sign up for the survey and get started.
There are also separate military qualify of life survey options for members of the Guard, but they do not affect the outcome of the survey mentioned here.
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.