2016—Pub. L. 114–328, § 933(a)(4)(A), substituted “Office of Military Family Readiness Policy” for “Office of Family Policy” in section catchline.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 114–328, § 933(a)(1), substituted “Office of Military Family Readiness Policy” for “Office of Family Policy” and “Director of Military Family Readiness Policy” for “Director of Family Policy”.
2013—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 112–239, in first sentence, substituted “in the Office” for “in the Director” and struck out “hereinafter” before “in this section”, and in second sentence, substituted “Office” for “office” in two places.
2011—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 111–383 substituted “the Director” for “the Office” before “of the Secretary” and “The office shall be headed by the Director of Family Policy, who shall serve within the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.” for “The Office shall be under the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management and Personnel.”
Expansion of Period of Availability of Military OneSource Program for Retired and Discharged Members of the Armed Forces and Their Immediate Families
Family Readiness: Definitions; Communication Strategy; Review; Report
Pub. L. 116–283, div. A, title V, § 581, Jan. 1, 2021, 134 Stat. 3651, provided that:
Not later than six months after the date of the enactment of this Act [Jan. 1, 2021], the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretaries of the military departments, shall act on recommendation one of the report, dated July 2019, of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, titled ‘Strengthening the Military Family Readiness System for a Changing American Society’, by establishing definitions of ‘family well-being’, ‘family readiness’, and ‘family resilience’ for use by the Department of Defense.
“(b) Communication Strategy.—Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretaries of the military departments, shall—
implement a strategy to use of a variety of modes of communication to ensure the broadest means of communicating with military families; and
establish a process to measure the effectiveness of the modes of communication described in paragraph (2).
Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Defense shall conduct a review of current programs, policies, services, resources, and practices of the Department for military families as outlined in recommendation four of the report described in subsection (a).
Not later than 60 days after completing the review under subsection (c), the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives a report detailing the results of the review and how the Secretary shall improve programs, policies, services, resources, and practices for military families, based on the review.”
Time Requirements for Certification of Honorable Service
Pub. L. 116–92, div. A, title V, § 526, Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 1356, provided that:
“The Secretary of Defense shall publish regulations for submission and processing of a completed United States Citizenship and Immigration Services Form N–426, by a member of the Armed Forces. Such regulations shall designate the appropriate level for the certifying officer as well as establish time requirements for the form to be returned to the member of the Armed Forces.”
Counseling for Members of the Armed Forces Who Are Not Citizens of the United States on Naturalization in the United States
Pub. L. 116–92, div. A, title V, § 570D, Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 1399, provided that:
“(a) In General.—
The Secretary concerned shall furnish to covered individuals under the jurisdiction of that Secretary counseling regarding how to apply for naturalization in the United States.
“(b) Definitions.—In this section:
The term ‘covered individual’ means a member of the Armed Forces who is not a citizen of the United States.
Pilot Program on Information Sharing Between Department of Defense and Designated Relatives and Friends of Members of the Armed Forces Regarding the Experiences and Challenges of Military Service
Pub. L. 116–92, div. A, title V, § 570E, Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 1400, provided that:
“(a) Pilot Program Required.—
“(1) In general.—Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act [Dec. 20, 2019], the Secretary of Defense shall seek to enter into an agreement with the American Red Cross to carry out a pilot program under which the American Red Cross—
encourages a member of the Armed Forces, upon the enlistment or appointment of such member, to designate up to 10 persons to whom information regarding the military service of such member shall be disseminated using contact information obtained under paragraph (6); and
provides such persons, within 30 days after the date on which such persons are designated under subparagraph (A), the option to elect to receive such information regarding military service.
The Secretary shall disseminate information described in paragraph (1)(A) under the pilot program on a regular basis.
“(3) Types of information.—The types of information to be disseminated under the pilot program to persons who elect to receive such information shall include information regarding—
aspects of daily life and routine experienced by members of the Armed Forces;
the challenges and stresses of military service, particularly during and after deployment as part of a contingency operation;
the services available to members of the Armed Forces and the dependents of such members to cope with the experiences and challenges of military service;
benefits administered by the Department of Defense for members of the Armed Forces and the dependents of such members;
a toll-free telephone number through which such persons who elect to receive information under the pilot program may request information regarding the program; and
such other information as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.
“(4) Privacy of information.—In carrying out the pilot program, the Secretary may not disseminate information under paragraph (3) in violation of laws and regulations pertaining to the privacy of members of the Armed Forces, including requirements pursuant to—
“(5) Notice and modifications.—In carrying out the pilot program, the Secretary shall, with respect to a member of the Armed Forces—
ensure that such member is notified of the ability to modify designations made by such member under paragraph (1)(A); and
upon the request of a member, authorize such member to modify such designations at any time.
“(6) Contact information.—
In making a designation under the pilot program, a member of the Armed Forces shall provide necessary contact information, specifically including an email address, to facilitate the dissemination of information regarding the military service of the member.
“(7) Opt-in and opt-out of program.—
“(A) Opt-in by members.—
A member may participate in the pilot program only if the member voluntarily elects to participate in the program. A member seeking to make such an election shall make such election in a manner, and by including such information, as the Secretary and the Red Cross shall jointly specify for purposes of the pilot program.
“(B) Opt-in by designated recipients.—
A person designated pursuant to paragraph (1)(A) may receive information under the pilot program only if the person makes the election described in paragraph (1)(B).
In carrying out the pilot program, the Secretary shall, with respect to a person who has elected to receive information under such pilot program, cease disseminating such information to that person upon request of such person.
“(b) Survey and Report on Pilot Program.—
Not later than two years after the date on which the pilot program commences, the Secretary, in consultation with the American Red Cross, shall administer a survey to persons who elected to receive information under the pilot program for the purpose of receiving feedback regarding the quality of information disseminated under this section, including whether such information appropriately reflects the military career progression of members of the Armed Forces.
“(2) Report.—Not later than three years after the date on which the pilot program commences, the Secretary shall submit to the congressional defense committees [Committees on Armed Services and Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives] a final report on the pilot program which includes—
the results of the survey administered under paragraph (1);
a determination as to whether the pilot program should be made permanent; and
recommendations as to modifications necessary to improve the program if made permanent.
“(c) Termination of Pilot Program.—
The pilot program shall terminate upon submission of the report required by subsection (b)(2).”
Pub. L. 115–232, div. A, title V, § 558, Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 1775, provided that:
“(a) In General.—
Under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense, the period of eligibility for the Military OneSource program of the Department of Defense of an eligible individual retired, discharged, or otherwise released from the Armed Forces, and for the eligible immediate family members of such an individual, shall be the one-year period beginning on the date of the retirement, discharge, or release, as applicable, of such individual.
“(b) Information to Families.—
The Secretary shall, in such manner as the Secretary considers appropriate, inform military families and families of veterans of the Armed Forces of the wide range of benefits available through the Military OneSource program.”
Policy on Response to Juvenile-on-Juvenile Problematic Sexual Behavior Committed on Military Installations
Pub. L. 115–232, div. A, title X, § 1089, Aug. 13, 2018, 132 Stat. 1996, provided that:
“(a) Policy Required.—
The Secretary of Defense shall establish a policy, applicable across the military installations of the Department of Defense (including installations outside the United States), on the response of the Department to allegations of juvenile-on-juvenile problematic sexual behavior on military installations. The policy shall be designed to ensure a consistent, standardized response to such allegations across the Department.
“(b) Elements.—The policy required by this section shall provide for the following:
Any report or other allegation of juvenile-on-juvenile problematic sexual behavior on a military installation that is received by the installation commander, a law enforcement organization, a Family Advocacy Program, a child development center, a military treatment facility, or a Department school operating on the installation or otherwise under Department administration for the installation shall be reviewed by the Family Advocacy Program of the installation.
Personnel of Family Advocacy Programs conducting reviews shall have appropriate training and experience in working with juveniles.
Family Advocacy Programs conducting reviews shall conduct a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary review and recommend treatment, counseling, or other appropriate interventions for complainants and respondents.
“(4) Each review shall be conducted—
with full involvement of appropriate authorities and entities, including parents or legal guardians of the juveniles involved (if practicable); and
to the extent practicable, in a manner that protects the sensitive nature of the incident concerned, using language appropriate to the treatment of juveniles in written policies and communication with families.
The requirement for investigation of a report or other allegation shall not be deemed to terminate or alter any otherwise applicable requirement to report or forward the report or allegation to appropriate Federal, State, or local authorities as possible criminal activity.
“(6) There shall be established and maintained a centralized database of information on each incident of problematic sexual behavior that is reviewed by a Family Advocacy Program under the policy established under this section, with—
the information in such database kept strictly confidential; and
because the information involves alleged conduct by juveniles, additional special precautions taken to ensure the information is available only to persons who require access to the information.
“(7) There shall be entered into the database, for each substantiated or unsubstantiated incident of problematic sexual behavior, appropriate information on the incident, including—
a description of the allegation;
whether or not the review is completed;
whether or not the incident was subject to an investigation by a law enforcement organization or entity, and the status and results of such investigation; and
whether or not action was taken in response to the incident, and the nature of the action, if any, so taken.”
Provision of Information on Naturalization Through Military Service
Pub. L. 115–91, div. A, title V, § 530, Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1383, provided that:
“The Secretary of Defense
shall ensure that members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps who are aliens lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence are informed of the availability of naturalization through service in the Armed Forces under section 328 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
(8 U.S.C. 1439
) and the process by which to pursue naturalization. The Secretary shall ensure that resources are available to assist qualified members of the Armed Forces to navigate the application and naturalization process.”
Support for Programs Providing Camp Experience for Children of Military Families
Pub. L. 114–328, div. A, title V, § 577, Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2143, provided that:
“(a) Authority to Provide Support.—
The Secretary of Defense may provide financial or non-monetary support to qualified nonprofit organizations in order to assist such organizations in carrying out programs to support the attendance at a camp, or camp-like setting, of children of military families who have experienced the death of a family member or other loved one or who have another family member living with a substance use disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder.
“(b) Application for Support.—
“(1) In general.—
Each organization seeking support pursuant to subsection (a) shall submit to the Secretary of Defense an application therefor containing such information as the Secretary shall specify for purposes of this section.
“(2) Contents.—Each application submitted under paragraph (1) shall include the following:
A description of the program for which support is being sought, including the location of the setting or settings under the program, the duration of such setting or settings, any local partners participating in or contributing to the program, and the ratio of counselors, trained volunteers, or both to children at such setting or settings.
An estimate of the number of children of military families to be supported using the support sought.
A description of the type of activities that will be conducted using the support sought, including the manner in which activities are particularly supportive to children of military families described in subsection (a).
A description of the outreach conducted or to be conducted by the organization to military families regarding the program.
“(c) Use of Support.—
Support provided by the Secretary of Defense to an organization pursuant to subsection (a) shall be used by the organization to support attendance at a camp, or camp-like setting, of children of military families described in subsection (a).”
Establishment of Online Resources To Provide Information About Benefits and Services Available to Members of the Armed Forces and Their Families
Pub. L. 111–84, div. A, title V, § 561, Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2302, provided that:
“(a) Internet Outreach Website.—
The Secretary of Defense shall establish an Internet website or other online resources for the purpose of providing comprehensive information to members of the Armed Forces and their families about the benefits and services described in subsection (b) that are available to members of the Armed Forces and their families.
“(2) Contact information.—
The online resources shall provide contact information, both telephone and e-mail, that a member of the Armed Forces or dependent of the member can use to get specific information about benefits and services that may be available for the member or dependent.
“(b) Covered Benefits and Services.—The information provided through the online resources established pursuant to subsection (a) shall include information regarding the following benefits and services that may be available to a member of the Armed Forces and dependents of the member:
Financial compensation, including financial counseling.
Health care and life insurance programs.
Entitlements and survivor benefits for dependents, including offsets in the receipt of such benefits under the Survivor Benefit Plan and in connection with the receipt of dependency and indemnity compensation.
Educational assistance benefits, including limitations on and the transferability of such assistance.
Housing assistance benefits, including counseling.
Relocation planning and preparation.
Maintaining military records.
Quality of life programs.
Family and community programs.
Employment assistance upon separation or retirement of a member or for the spouse of the member.
Reserve component service for members completing service in a regular component.
Disability benefits, including offsets in connection with the receipt of such benefits.
Benefits and services provided under laws administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Such other benefits and services as the Secretary of Defense considers appropriate.
“(c) Dissemination of Information on Availability on Online Resources.—
The Secretaries of the military departments shall use public service announcements, publications, and such other announcements through the general media as the Secretaries consider appropriate to inform members of the Armed Forces and their families and the general public about the information available through the online resources established pursuant to subsection (a).
“(d) Implementation Report.—
Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act [Oct. 28, 2009], the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the congressional defense committees [Committees on Armed Services and Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives] a report on the quality and scope of the online resources established pursuant to subsection (a) to provide information about benefits and services for members of the Armed Forces and their families.”
Education and Treatment Services for Military Dependent Children With Autism
Pub. L. 110–181, div. A, title V, § 587, Jan. 28, 2008, 122 Stat. 133, which related to comprehensive assessment of the availability of Federal, State, and local education and treatment services for military dependent children with autism, was repealed by Pub. L. 111–84, div. A, title V, § 563(a)(3), Oct. 28, 2009, 123 Stat. 2307.
Joint Family Support Assistance Program
Pub. L. 109–364, div. A, title VI, § 675, Oct. 17, 2006, 120 Stat. 2273, as amended by Pub. L. 111–383, div. A, title V, § 584, Jan. 7, 2011, 124 Stat. 4228, provided that:
“(a) Program Required.—The Secretary of Defense shall carry out a joint family support assistance program for the purpose of providing to families of members of the Armed Forces the following types of assistance:
Financial and material assistance.
Mobile support services.
Sponsorship of volunteers and family support professionals for the delivery of support services.
Coordination of family assistance programs and activities provided by Military OneSource, Military Family Life Consultants, counselors, the Department of Defense, other Federal agencies, State and local agencies, and non-profit entities.
Facilitation of discussion on military family assistance programs, activities, and initiatives between and among the organizations, agencies, and entities referred to in paragraph (4).
Such other assistance that the Secretary considers appropriate.
The Secretary of Defense shall carry out the program in not less than six areas of the United States selected by the Secretary. At least three of the areas selected for the program shall be areas that are geographically isolated from military installations.
“(c) Resources and Volunteers.—
The Secretary of Defense shall provide personnel and other resources of the Department of Defense necessary for the implementation and operation of the program and may accept and utilize the services of non-Government volunteers and non-profit entities under the program.
The Secretary of Defense shall establish procedures for the operation of the program and for the provision of assistance to families of members of the Armed Forces under the program.
“(e) Relation to Family Support Centers.—
The program is not intended to operate in lieu of existing family support centers, but is instead intended to augment the activities of the family support centers.
“(f) Implementation Plan.—
“(1) Plan required.—
Not later than 90 days after the date on which funds are first obligated for the program, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the congressional defense committees [Committees on Armed Services and Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives] a report setting forth a plan for the implementation of the program.
“(2) Elements.—The plan required under paragraph (1) shall include the following:
A description of the actions taken to select the areas in which the program will be conducted.
A description of the procedures established under subsection (d).
A review of proposed actions to be taken under the program to improve coordination of family assistance program and activities between and among the Department of Defense, other Federal agencies, State and local agencies, and non-profit entities.
“(1) Report required.—
Not later than 270 days after the date on which funds are first obligated for the program, the Secretary of Defense shall submit to the congressional defense committees [Committees on Armed Services and Appropriations of the Senate and the House of Representatives] a report on the program.
“(2) Elements.—The report shall include the following:
A description of the program, including the areas in which the program is conducted, the procedures established under subsection (d) for operation of the program, and the assistance provided through the program for families of members of the Armed Forces.
An assessment of the effectiveness of the program in providing assistance to families of members of the Armed Forces.
An assessment of the advisability of extending the program or making it permanent.
The authority to carry out the program shall expire on December 31, 2012.”
Recognition of Military Families
Pub. L. 108–136, div. A, title V, § 581, Nov. 24, 2003, 117 Stat. 1489, provided that:
“(a) Findings.—Congress makes the following findings:
The families of both active and reserve component members of the Armed Forces, through their sacrifices and their dedication to the Nation and its values, contribute immeasurably to the readiness of the Armed Forces.
Without the continued support of military families, the Nation’s ability to sustain a high quality all-volunteer military force would be undermined.
In the perilous and challenging times of the global war on terrorism, with hundreds of thousands of active and reserve component military personnel deployed overseas in places of combat and other imminent danger, military families are making extraordinary sacrifices and will be required to do so for the foreseeable future.
Beginning in 1997, military family service and support centers have responded to the encouragement and support of private, non-profit organizations to recognize and honor the American military family during the Thanksgiving period each November.
“(b) Military Family Recognition.—
In view of the findings in subsection (a), Congress determines that it is appropriate that special measures be taken annually to recognize and honor the American military family.
“(c) Department of Defense Programs and Activities.—The Secretary of Defense shall—
implement and sustain programs, including appropriate ceremonies and activities, to recognize and honor the contributions and sacrifices of the American military family, including families of both active and reserve component military personnel;
focus the celebration of the American military family during a specific period of each year to give full and proper recognition to those families; and
seek the assistance and support of appropriate civilian organizations, associations, and other entities (A) in carrying out the annual celebration of the American military family, and (B) in sustaining other, longer-term efforts to support the American military family.”
Supporting New American Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families
Memorandum of President of the United States, Dec. 22, 2016, 81 F.R. 95849, provided:
Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
My Administration has maintained a steadfast commitment to honor and serve the brave men and women who have served this country. Like all service members and veterans, foreign-born residents and naturalized citizens serving in the United States Armed Forces are shining examples of the American dream. These brave new Americans have taken the extraordinary step of answering the call to duty, to support and defend our country. Some have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country before becoming American citizens.
New American service members are undoubtedly a critical element of our national security. They risk their lives all over the world in the name of the United States, securing shipping lanes, protecting bases and embassies, providing medical assistance, and conducting humanitarian missions. Tens of thousands of lawful permanent residents and naturalized U.S. citizens currently serve in our Armed Forces. Many more are veterans who have served previously in the Armed Forces. Additionally, many U.S.-born service members have immediate family members who were born abroad.
Over the past decade, the Departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security have strengthened partnerships to provide services and opportunities to service members, veterans, and their families interacting with the U.S. immigration system. Indeed, since 2001, more than 110,000 service members have been naturalized and many were assisted in the process through partnerships such as the “Naturalization at Basic Training Initiative,” which gives non-citizen enlistees the opportunity to naturalize during basic training. Despite these efforts, service members, veterans, and their families still face barriers to accessing immigration benefits and other assistance for which they may be eligible.
In light of the sacrifices that all of these individuals make and have made for our country, it is critical that executive departments and agencies (agencies) enhance collaboration and streamline processes to ensure that they receive the services and benefits they need and have earned. Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and to address the issues facing new American service members, veterans, and their families, I hereby direct as follows:
Section 1. Interagency Working Group to Support New American Service Members, Veterans, and their Families. There is established a Working Group to Support New American Service Members, Veterans, and their Families (Working Group) to coordinate records, benefits, and immigration and citizenship services for these service members, veterans, and their families. The Working Group shall convene its first meeting within 10 days of the date of this memorandum.
(a) The Working Group shall consist of representatives from:
(i) the Department of State;
(ii) the Department of Defense;
(iii) the Department of Justice;
(iv) the Department of Labor;
(v) the Department of Veterans Affairs; and
(vi) the Department of Homeland Security.
(b) The Working Group shall consult with additional agencies or offices, as appropriate.
Sec. 2. Mission and Functions of the Working Group. (a) The Working Group shall coordinate agency efforts to support service members, veterans, and their families who are navigating the immigration, veterans, and military systems. Such efforts shall include:
(i) coordinating the sharing of military records and other information relevant to immigration or veterans benefits;
(ii) enhancing awareness of naturalization and immigration benefits to provide timely assistance and information to service members, veterans, and their families;
(iii) coordinating and facilitating the process of adjudicating immigration applications and petitions; and
(iv) other efforts that further support service members, veterans, and their families.
(b) Within 30 days of the date of this memorandum, the Working Group shall develop an initial 3-year strategic action plan that details broad approaches to be taken to enhance access to services and benefits. This initial plan shall be supplemented by a more detailed plan, to be published within 120 days of the date of this memorandum that discusses the steps to be taken in greater detail. The Working Group shall also report periodically on its accomplishments and ongoing initiatives.
Sec. 3. Outreach. Consistent with the objectives of this memorandum and applicable law, the Working Group shall seek the views of representatives of private and nonprofit organizations; veterans and military service organizations; State, tribal, and local government agencies; elected officials; and other interested persons to inform the Working Group’s plans.
Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) The heads of agencies shall assist and provide information to the Working Group, consistent with applicable law, as may be necessary to carry out the functions of the Working Group. Each agency and office shall bear its own expense for carrying out activities related to the Working Group.
(b) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect the authority granted by law to an executive department or an agency, or the head thereof, or the status of that department or agency within the Federal Government.
(c) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(d) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
(e) The Secretary of Homeland Security is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.