The National Military Spouse Network Releases Sixth Annual White Paper, ‘Rethinking How We Solve The Military Spouse Employment Dilemma’

Report Examines New Ways of Thinking about Spouse Employment and Calls for Transformative Change to Effect Long-Sought Solutions 

LORTON, Va., April 23, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), the premiere organization supporting the professional and personal growth of the nation’s military spouses, today released its sixth annual National Military Spouse Network White Paper. The latest report, “Rethinking How We Solve the Military Spouse Employment Dilemma, examines the stubbornly high rate of military spouse unemployment and the need to develop fresh and transformative programs to once and for all combat and solve the persistent issues preventing milspouses from fruitful careers of their choice.

“This report takes a totally new approach to the longstanding issues of military spouse unemployment by calling out and reframing the outdated cultural assumptions and false narratives that hold back real progress,” said Sue Hoppin, Founder and President of NMSN. “How we think, collaborate, and solve problems must evolve, putting a greater focus on being innovative and adopting a more entrepreneurial vision for the future.”

The 2024 White Paper enumerates six recommendations that help move the milspouse and greater military community towards eliminating the barriers that have been inadvertently created in the process of conducting business. They seek to encourage truth and transparency, accountability, and innovation in future solution- and policy-making that supports those who support the nation’s finest. Implementation of these objectives will help reframe the outdated cultural assumptions and false narratives that are holding back real progress, making meaningful changes in the systems to help military spouses achieve their personal and professional goals – that also positively impact the family’s financial security.

NMSN is dedicated to taking a new approach to military employment issues, scrapping how existing programs are assessed and re-evaluating whether current resources and policies no longer serve the community and need to be revised or replaced. The six recommendations are:

  • Eliminating the false narrative that we have to choose between helping service members and veterans or military spouses. Pitting one military demographic against another promotes a culture of divisiveness, negativity, and inequity that doesn’t align with the military’s core values. Collaborate and ideate from a shared identity of military community.

  • Determining and clearly articulate the problem being solved. Be willing to go back to the basics to redefine the questions, be more granular to better capture the diversity of experiences and challenges, clarify parameters and consider new solutions.

  • Developing original solutions to understand and address the military spouse unemployment rate that do not mirror ones targeted to service members and veterans. Use a design thinking framework to empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test unique solutions. Sample deliverables could include new surveys that ask different questions than previous ones and virtual spaces that enable spouses to share their employment stories.

  • Doing a better job of evaluating existing programs, resources, and partnerships to determine if they are truly working in support of military spouses. According to the recently released Department of Defense’s Strategic Plan, the federal government has committed to raising the bar on data collection. Private industry must do the same to increase the availability of data illustrating key employment metrics and outcomes.

  • Breaking down stove pipes and communicate more effectively across agencies and functions. Supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of having the federal government become the premier employer of military spouses will require interagency and cross-functional communication.

  • Problem-solving employment issues for military spouses through a wider aperture. Consider the entire military spouse lifecycle that includes the period of time post-service member retirement/separation to assess and resolve systemic employment issues that may be interrelated.

About National Military Spouse Network
Founded in 2010, the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN) delivers ongoing personal and professional development for military spouses by providing quality content, mentoring, networking opportunities and resources, including a monthly newsletter and free bi-annual digital magazine. The NMSN is dedicated to removing barriers to military spouse employment and entrepreneurship through informed advocacy in support of military spouses, and by extension their families, throughout every stage of military life. For more information on NMSN, visit Follow NMSN on Twitter at @NMSNetwork or join the Facebook community at

Media Contact:
Laura Liebeck

SOURCE National Military Spouse Network