White Oak Members Call on Congress to Improve Lives of Military Families

The Honorable Mike Johnson
United States House of Representatives
The Honorable Charles Schumer
Majority Leader
United States Senate
The Honorable Hakeem Jeffries
Minority Leader
United States House of Representatives
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
United States Senate


Dear Speaker Johnson, Minority Leader Jeffries, Majority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leader McConnell:

We, the undersigned members of the White Oak Collaborative, a cross-sector coalition of more than 150 organizations committed to supporting service members, Veterans, wounded warriors, caregivers, survivors, and their families, are writing to express our strong support for the inclusion of the provisions of the House Armed Services Committee’s Quality of Life Report in the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act. These provisions, outlined in the Quality of Life report, are essential for the well-being and readiness of, and continued service by, our military community.

The Quality of Life Report, compiled by dedicated experts and stakeholders, highlights critical issues facing our service members and their families. It presents actionable recommendations aimed at addressing these challenges and improving the quality of life for those who serve our nation. As staunch advocates within the White Oak Collaborative, we resolutely endorse the Report’s provisions and implore the House and Senate to ensure they are enacted within the NDAA.

The Quality of Life Report includes the following priorities we would like included in the NDAA and more:

    1. Junior Enlisted Pay Increase: Increasing pay by 15% for pay grades E1-E4 would provide much-needed relief to junior enlisted service members and their families.
    2. Increase Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH): Restoring BAH to 100% of housing costs is crucial for alleviating the financial burdens placed on our military families, thereby enhancing their overall readiness.
    3. Increase Basic Needs Allowance (BNA) to 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines: Increasing the BNA will provide vital support to families experiencing food insecurity and lacking basic needs.
    4. Expansion of Child Care Access to Military Spouses Seeking Employment: Expand eligibility for DoD Child Development Programs for unemployed military spouses who are actively seeking employment from 90 days to 180 days. This will increase access to child care while taking a large step toward decreasing military spouse unemployment.

According to the annual Blue Star Families Military Family Lifestyle Survey, these quality of life issues, including pay and benefits, housing, child care, spouse employment, and access to healthcare are military families’ greatest challenges. The willingness of military families to recommend military service has dropped steeply from 55% in 2016 to only 32% today. Congress must take immediate action to retain and recruit military personnel in order to address this threat to our All-Volunteer Force.

We appreciate your leadership and dedication to improving the lives of our service members and their families, caregivers, and survivors. Your support for these critical provisions will not only strengthen our military, but reaffirm our nation’s commitment to those who serve it.

Thank you for considering our input. We look forward to working together to ensure that the 2025 NDAA reflects the needs and priorities of our military families.


Armed Services YMCA
Association of Military Banks of America
Blue Star Families
Code Of Support Foundation
Cohen Veterans Network
D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families
Dixon Center for Military and Veteran Services
Mrs. Ellyn Dunford
Elizabeth Dole Foundation
Hope for the Warriors
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)
Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Military Child Education Coalition
Military Family Advisory Network
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)
Military Spouse Advocacy Network
Modern Military Association of America
National Military Family Association
Partners in PROMISE
Project Sanctuary
Psych Hub
Secure Families Initiative
Student Veterans of America
The Barry Robinson Center
The Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce
The Military Women’s Memorial Foundation
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
Travis Manion Foundation
Tricare for Kids Coalition
United Through Reading
wear blue: run to remember
Women Veterans and Families Network (WVFN)
Wounded Warrior Project

Additional White Oak Collaborative Signatories:
Home Front Military Network
Institute for Military and Veteran Family Wellness at the University of Texas at Austin
No One Left Behind

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