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CMSAF addresses House Armed Services subcommittee

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West speaks with Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy before testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Military Personnel at the Rayburn House Office Building July 22. (U.S. Navy photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Jennifer Villalovos)

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West speaks with Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Roy before testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Military Personnel at the Rayburn House Office Building July 22. (U.S. Navy photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Jennifer Villalovos)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The chief master sergeant of the Air Force gave testimony before the Military Personnel Subcommittee for Family Support Programs here July 22.

"We will remain engaged on our family support programs, and we plan on constantly improving the programs we already have in effect," said Chief Master Sgt. James A. Roy at the House Armed Services subcommittee.

Chief Roy thanked committee members for their support of Airmen and their families, and also touched on his attention to family matters.

Airmen are doing an incredible job, whether deployed or stateside, and are also providing the nation with force multipliers via their families, Chief Roy told the committee.

"[Families] also serve -- they support and care for their own Airman; volunteer across the spectrum of support activities; and comfort other members of their family who experience an often-absent parent or spouse," Chief Roy said. "Yes, our military families serve honorably."

The chief made note of recent initiatives in the areas of child care capacity, child care for Guard and Reserve families, improving financial readiness, and "improved education and developmental opportunities for spouses and children."

The chief cited increased deployment support in response to increased deployment schedules, telling committee members the Air Force offers "programs and services across all phases of the deployment."

More than 14,000 Airmen have families with special needs and are enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program.

"However, we have determined the need for a companion program to provide families support as they move from location to location," Chief Roy said.

Chief Roy told the committee the Air Force is working "on leveling the playing field" for military children, whose educational paths are impacted from the multiple relocations required of Airmen.

In addition to bolstered deployment support, enhancements to the Exceptional Family Member Program, and initiatives to benefit military children, Chief Roy talked of efforts to smooth bumps created when an Airman has to relocate resulting in their spouse's job loss.

Efforts are underway to improve the likelihood of unemployment compensation eligibility for dislocated military spouses and to license [spouses] "in portable career fields to abbreviate the job search timeframe for these spouses," said Chief Roy.

Chief Roy's complete July 22 opening remarks to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel regarding Oversight of Family Support Programs can be read at http://www.af.mil/information/speeches/speech.asp?id=494.