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US National Security Threatened if Military Families Ignored: SU Official Testifies to Congress

A Syracuse University Vice Chancellor told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that the federal government should do more to support military families … or it might limit future military service.   Director of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families Mike Haynie testified that failing to provide enough economic and educational assistance for military families is a threat to national security.

“About 70 % of the nation’s 17-24-year-olds are actually ineligible to enlist in the military even if they wanted to.  But one of the most reliable pipelines of volunteers come from the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters of those who currently serving.”

Michael Haynie testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee this week in Washington.


says only 40 % of service members would recommend the military to their children. He also says there is not enough research on how to provide support for children of service members who face harsh emotional challenges in the post-9/11 era.

“Children growing up in those families are growing up with a mother or father that is deployed overseas where there is ongoing conflict and combat.  I don’t think we’ve really come to understand the impact that growing up in a military family will have on these children.”

Haynie worries that universities other than SU may not be doing enough to close gaps in educational opportunities for service members and their families.  

“I hope leaders of colleges and universities around the country will act in a way that the nation’s employers did back when veteran unemployment was high.  You had hundreds and hundreds of companies coming together to address the crisis of unemployment among veterans.  We haven’t seen that happening yet in higher education; I hope it does.” 

Children and siblings of service members are the most likely to join the military. Research shows fewer would recommend to a relative joining, according to new research.

He says that as Congress reviews President Trump’s budget plan, there may be a chance to provide better programs for economic support.

“It does provide a significant increase in spending for defense but when you look at military family support programs, it’s not an equivalent increase.  Also the opportunity exists for congress to introduce provisions focused on how we can better serve and support military families.”

Haynie says military spouses are unemployed at almost three times the national average and earn far less because they move so frequently. 

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.