An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

DAF SELs testify on importance of caring for service members, families

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. William A. O’Brien
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Department of the Air Force senior enlisted advisors testified March 20 to a Congressional subcommittee on the importance of quality-of-life initiatives to service members and their families and the role those programs play in ensuring military readiness and retention.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force David A. Flosi and Chief Master Sgt. of the Space Force John F. Bentivegna identified factors essential to operational and family readiness, emphasized the importance of prioritizing quality-of-life for military service members and their families and addressed challenges such as childcare and health care access and availability.

“Quality of life for our service members and their families is paramount,” Flosi told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies. “We must ensure access to quality childcare and health care. Recent increases in military pay are appreciated. We must remain vigilant and address inflationary pressures and rising housing costs. Ensuring adequate housing for our Airmen and their families is non-negotiable.”

Both enlisted leaders stressed the value of investing in the well-being of military personnel and their families to maintain readiness and national security. They also said the military’s core responsibilities could be affected by the distractions that financial and family responsibilities can trigger if not adequately addressed.

“We must insulate Guardians against internal and external factors that prevent them from being combat-ready and fully capable of accomplishing their mission,” Bentivegna said. “We must make their experience meaningful and fulfilling.”

Bentivegna pointed out that military service leads to unique family needs. In the case of childcare - an undermanned field even in the civilian sector - military service brings additional requirements to supporting service members.

“Childcare access challenges are compounded by the complexity of shift work, where Guardians can struggle to find childcare outside of normal business hours and weekends,” Bentivegna added.

Flosi pointed out that the family dynamics in America have shifted, as have family needs, and stressed the importance of supporting families through the inevitable transitions military service creates. Achieving that improves the potential to retain service members while minimizing the impact of service on their lives and the lives of their families through national policies like the Military Spouse Licensing Relief Act.

“Recognizing the diverse needs of modern military families, we are committed to improving spouse employment opportunities and [professional] license portability. Supporting our families is foundational to maintaining readiness and mission success,” Flosi said. “I want to thank the subcommittee for its unwavering support. Our service members, backed by resilient families, are ready to meet the challenges of today. Let us ensure they have the resources they need to continue safeguarding our nation’s security for generations to come.”

Flosi and Bentivegna were joined in their testimony by their military service counterparts from the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.