USDA, Special Operations Support Military Families

Military family, servicemember holding child.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden and Navy Adm. William H. McRaven have signed a memorandum of understanding between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Special Operations Command to increase support services for military families.

The MOU allows the USDA-supported Cooperative Extension System and Land Grant Universities to work directly with Socom to conduct research and develop programs for military families of special operations units on issues such as personal financial management, health and nutrition, child care and youth empowerment, USDA said in a news release.

The USDA and the Defense Department have a longstanding relationship in support of service members and their families, Harden said in the release.

"This agreement allows us to extend similar support to Special Operations Forces by developing programs and services that help improve the quality of life for military family members," Harden continued in the release. "From offering workshops and classes about financial management for families, to creating positive youth development environments for military kids, to promoting healthy lifestyles, the USDA stands at the ready to serve."

"We are very grateful for USDA's support to our special operations warriors and their families," McRaven said in the release. "One of the fundamentals of special operations is that people are more important than hardware. This partnership exemplifies that truth. By facilitating access to a magnitude of valuable and credible family support programs and research through land grant universities, USDA will play a vital role in strengthening our force's resiliency and mission readiness."

The MOU builds on a current MOU between USDA and the DOD to strengthen child, youth and family programs for military personnel and their families, according to the release. That agreement, the release said, was signed in 2010 by Dr. Roger N. Beachy, former director of USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, then-Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

Under that agreement, the release said, the USDA-supported Cooperative Extension System and Land Grant Universities and DOD are engaged in a 10-year effort to leverage each other's resources and expertise in support of military families.

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