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Immediate Release

Readout of Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks' Meeting With Military and Veteran Support Organizations

Pentagon Spokesman Eric Pahon provided the following readout:

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks and other senior Department of Defense leaders met with nearly 30 military and veteran support organizations today both virtually and in-person at the Pentagon to discuss a variety of issues related to Secretary Austin's Taking Care of People priority.

During the afternoon event, convened by Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Mr. Gilbert Cisneros, Jr., the groups were briefed on military family well-being and readiness initiatives, including childcare expansion, the new Military Spouse Career Accelerator Pilot, and efforts to improve economic well-being.

They were also briefed on prevention and response efforts related to sexual assault, suicide, domestic violence, and access to mental health care.

Senior DoD leaders discussed how military and veteran support organizations can help build the Department's Prevention Workforce, which is focused on community-based healthcare, and offers employment opportunities for military spouses and veterans.

Deputy Secretary Hicks said she is focused on addressing issues related to food security across the department, including expanded studies to understand why some service members face food security challenges and identifying the root causes.

"Addressing food security is just one of the many issues we're focused on, and are continuing to execute and monitor the progress of the department's actions under the DoD Food Security Strategy and Roadmap," said Deputy Secretary Hicks.

She also highlighted progress toward implementing DoD's Basic Needs Allowance, raising pay for service members, and reducing prices in commissaries by 25%, compared to other stores in the community.

"Taking care of our people is one of our highest priorities. The responsibility, leadership, and skills developed during military service give those who serve and their families, their communities, and society at large, lifelong benefits. That's why we are laser-focused on bolstering our value proposition with good pay and benefits, education and career opportunities, and world-class training," she said.

The deputy secretary listened to feedback from attendees, and thanked the broad community of military and veteran support organizations for their tireless advocacy and devotion to supporting service members and their families, veterans, caregivers, and survivors.