What We Know: Pentagon pushing more family-friendly military

AP News
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Posted: Jan 28, 2016 4:55 PM
What We Know: Pentagon pushing more family-friendly military

Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to make military service more family friendly. Here's how:

—Carter says he wants to double the length of fully paid maternity leave for female service members and work with Congress to boost time off for paternity leave and adoptions.

—He also plans to offer more health care benefits for women trying to get pregnant and expand the hours that military child care facilities are open and the number of children that can be accommodated.

—Pregnancy is a big issue for military women. They often have to deploy for months at a time and try to plan childbirth around their duty assignments. Men worry about warzone injuries that might impair their ability to father children.

—The changes will cost an estimated $385 million over the next five years. They are part of Carter's effort to modernize the military and make it more attractive to job seekers.

— Carter says the changes should be balanced against the need to maintain a strong and ready fighting force. "Fairness is important, but always, always the mission effectiveness of our force comes first," he says. "We are not Google. We are not Walmart. We're war fighters."