WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today released the following statement after U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed a policy revision granting Coast Guard service members and civilian employees the same access to military child care as equivalent Department of Defense (DoD) service members and civilian employees.
“Last month, I joined my colleagues in fighting to secure equal access to military child care for Coast Guard families,” said Wicker. “I appreciate Secretary Esper’s swift action to right this wrong. This is a tremendous win for our Coast Guard men and women in uniform and their loved ones, and it is a great way to recognize military children for their sacrifice and bravery at home as we observe Month of the Military Child.”
In March, Wicker, along with Sens. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Ed Markey, D-Mass., and 18 members of Congress, sent a joint letter urging Secretary Esper to ensure the children of Coast Guard members are given the same priority as children of members of the other military branches.
In February, DoD announced plans to move active duty Coast Guard members to nearly the last priority level for military child care centers. The new policy would have treated Coast Guard members as not only lower priority than all the other military branches, but also lower than civilian DoD employees for access to child care services. On June 1, 2020, DoD child care centers would have begun removing children of active duty Coast Guard members to make room for children from the other military branches and DoD civilian employees. This would have potentially impacted more than 1,100 children of Coast Guard service members currently enrolled in these child care centers.
The committee exercises jurisdiction over the Coast Guard.