Release
Immediate Release

DOD Releases Military Spouse Licensure Report

Feb. 24, 2020

On Feb. 18, 2020, the Department of Defense delivered to Congress the “Military Spouse Licensure: State Best Practices and Strategies for Achieving Reciprocity” report. The report covers license reciprocity for military spouses, illustrated through state best practices, along with a way ahead for states to achieve improvements. It also provides criteria DOD has developed to assess the states’ licensing practices.

“The department is committed to improving license portability for military spouses,” said Matthew Donovan, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. “Secretary Esper has established military spouse employment as a key aspect of supporting military families, and the secretaries of the Military Departments have also expressed the importance of military spouse licensure by making it part of the consideration for future mission basing.”

Military spouses face a 24% unemployment rate, much higher than the general population. The high rate of unemployment is driven in large part by the mobile military life. Many military spouses who move interstate face new licensure requirements for their profession.

From 2011 to 2016, the department worked with all 50 states to enhance common methods used by licensing boards to expedite the acceptance of a spouse’s license from another state. While there have been successes in some form of relief, there are still improvements to be made.

“Implementing licensure portability measures will help to reduce employment barriers for military spouses, improving military family stability and quality of life,” said Marcus Beauregard, director for the department’s defense-state liaison office. “More than one-third of military spouses work in occupations that require licenses. Reducing the burden of licensure will also increase the pool of applicants in critical career fields experiencing shortages, such as health care and teaching, especially in military communities.”

Governors and state legislators are crucial players in helping to enact changes on spouse licensure requirements. The department values the continued work of these partners and will continue to collaborate among the states on this issue for spouses of service members moving from one state to another.

“The department encourages states to engage in immediate actions to fully implement military spouse licensure laws, near-term actions to at least attain a baseline of getting military spouses a license in 30 days based on minimal documentation, and long-term solutions for reciprocity through compacts,” said Beauregard. “The department intends to track an overall assessment of states based on commitment to these approaches for all occupations.”

The Defense-State Liaison Office works to provide state policymakers with expert insight on issues affecting military families and their quality of life. This initiative is part of the Department of Defense’s efforts to identify and address the most pressing needs of service members and military families – offering a trusted resource, reliable information and research, knowledge of policies and processes, and assistance with legislation at the state level.

See the full report – “Military Spouse Licensure: State Best Practices and Strategies for Achieving Reciprocity.”