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Hearing of the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee - Military Morale-Welfare-Recreation


Location: Washington, DC

Hearing of the Military Personnel Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee - Military Morale-Welfare-Recreation


REP. JOHN KLINE (R-MN): Thank you, Madame Chair.

Thank you all for being here today.

I hate to break this to you, Mr. McHugh, but you'll never see an out year. No, it's never going to happen.

I remember in the long-distance past when I was a program development officer for the Marine Corps -- of course, when you're building POMs you love out years, because everything gets well in the out year. But of course, when those out years turn into budget years that's not the case, and I identify with your and the chairman's remarks.

On another subject, where times are changing and apparently changing for the better, a couple of you mentioned the Military OneSource program. I've had the opportunity to view and tour and talk to some of the people that operate that, and I am struck by the breadth and depth of the things that we're covering now -- the questions that get answers and the services that get provided.

And so I'm just sort of throwing out to any of you who would like to talk about that, because one of the things -- I am interested to see how all the services are going to and are integrating into that. But I just think it's tremendous when you have a spouse back here, husband or wife is deployed, problem comes up, they have one place to call, and they get the answer. I've been very, very impressed with it.

So anybody want to amplify on how that's working or how you're working together? I'd like to hear from you.

MR. : If I could?

REP. KLINE: Please.

GEN. MACDONALD: Sir, we're thrilled with it. Frankly, as you know, it started as Army OneSource and then we had some OPM -- that's "other people's money." And OSD took that on and it's been a tremendous program for our geographically dispersed or for our families that are right on a post, that are just off-post or on-post. That it has 140 languages that you can call in and get a translation instantaneously helps our young Korean spouses and our ones from the Philippines and the ones that have emigrated -- our Spanish-speaking.

It has -- continues to grow in capability, most recently with addictive behavior counseling that's online and on the phone. We advertise it everywhere; I go out and talk to all the brand new pre- command courses with colonels and lieutenant colonels and I talk about it every time I go as a tremendous resource that I wish I had had when I was a battalion and brigade commander, so a great resource, sir.

REP. KLINE: Anybody else want to -- Mr. Larsen?

MR. LARSEN: Sir, I'd just like to comment if I could. I used Military OneSource and so I know it works. And as I was coming back from Japan here a few months ago, PCS and back as I retired, my wife had a number of questions about the area. I got online and I contacted Military OneSource, gave them a whole series of questions we had, and they responded very quickly.

So this is a great asset and it's got great potential, particularly for remote and isolated locations. Independent-duty recruiters, reserves, people that are not connected directly to a base often have an opportunity to get the services they need, and we've had several thousand face-to-face counseling sessions that have gone on at the recommendation of Military OneSource to our people in the field who have contacted them.

REP. KLINE: Madame Secretary?

MS. ARSHT: I do want to say -- and General Thurgood, forgive me for a second -- that this is a program that we continue to make more robust. We're constantly adding services to it because we think this discussion about how we are serving the volunteer force, both on- installation, off-installation and around the world, needs technology to help us drive our responses.

So Military OneSource is sort of the lead asset that we have to be able to bring lots of services together and to be able to deliver them efficiently.

REP. KLINE: Well, it seems to me -- and General, I think you were going to say something -- but it's more than just technology. There are people behind this. And I know, Mr. Larsen, you were talking about coming back. As I understand it, if you're being transferred to someplace you can call up OneSource and say where are the schools, what are the schools, what are the child care centers, what's the housing market look like and all of those things and get the kind of help that in the old days we simply didn't have. And so it should be having an impact on the quality of life in every service, and I hope that it is.

And I know General, was that a towel, as Mr. McHugh said, or did you?

GEN. THURGOOD: Yes, sir, it was.

Just to highlight again an anecdote. As my wife has worked with our families and family support groups specifically on the reserve side, there are real-life tangible benefits, physical benefits. We had a family, the wife -- husband was deployed -- she needed a refrigerator or an oven. I can't remember now which one it was. But she went through OneSource and through OneSource they had contacts from our industry partners and they delivered a stove to that family free of charge.

So it's a great resource, and as General MacDonald mentioned, it's particularly important to our family members, reservists and National Guard who are away from our facilities and robust support groups by themselves, so it's a good deal.

REP. KLINE: Well, thank you. It's a new thing to me and we always think of MWR and quality of life as commissaries and exchanges and so forth. This is something new, and I'm struck with the enormous potential -- not just potential, but it's actually delivering right now -- in your example, a stove.

And I see my time is up; thank you, Madame Chair.


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