By C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (Sept. 17, 2021) -- Back in July, the Defense Department released the Active Duty Spouse Survey -- something it does every two years. In the past, the survey was available by invitation only to a select few military spouses. But not this year.
Through late October, all spouses of active-duty military members -- more than 600,000 of them -- can visit the OPA Survey Portal and tell the Pentagon what they think about being 'married to the military.'
The results of the survey will be used to give Pentagon decision-makers a better idea about how they can adjust family policy and programs in the coming years -- especially in relation to military benefits, financial stability, spouse employment, child care, and the overall health and well-being of spouses, children and families.
"Leadership across the DoD takes the [survey] seriously," said Eddy Mentzer, the associate director for strategic initiatives within DoD's military community support programs office. "From the office of the secretary of defense to the military service headquarters, [survey] results are shared and utilized to shape future programs and resources. The survey results are also shared outside the DoD with Capitol Hill and the White House."
This year, some military spouses will still get mail and/or email invitation to participate. Those spouses will get a "ticket number" they can enter to begin the survey. All military spouses can get a ticket number by selecting "click here" at www.DoDsurveys.mil. The DoD ID number on the back of the spouse's common access card, along with the date of birth, will be used to access the survey.
While some military spouses will remain silent about life being married to an active-duty service member, others will want to let the Pentagon know directly what's grinding their gears. Mentzer said more spouses should let military leadership know what's going on in the trenches at home.
"While military spouses share common experiences, each military spouse has a unique story," Mentzer said. "Military life can result in a number of challenges. By allowing their voice to be heard and sharing their experiences, military spouses can ensure they are able to have a voice in the future programs that support them."
According to the Defense Department's Office of People Analytics, which is conducting the survey, the data collected is reported in aggregate to protect the identity of participants. That aggregate data will eventually be made available publicly so participants can see how other military spouses responded. Information from the 2019 survey is available online at the link below.