The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff vowed today to eliminate the "yes-no" box that appears on some predeployment checklists that determines whether a servicemembers' units can contact their families during deployments. There are just too many spouses whose spouse deploys where that box is checked no," Navy Adm. Mullen said while addressing the National Guard Family Program Volunteer Workshop in New Orleans. "In my time as chairman, I'm going to make that box go away."
On some predeployment family readiness checklists, servicemembers can opt out of keeping their family members informed about family readiness information, benefits and entitlements.
The eradication of the "yes-no" box will require a joint effort, the chairman said. "This has to be actively pursued from within," he said, "from the grassroots level up to the commanders so that we can make it go away."
This effort will be a step toward keeping families better informed, and also will help to close a gap, particularly for Guard and Reserve families who often are far from the support of a military installation, Mullen said, noting that when his wife, Deborah, was visiting a base, a National Guard spouse drove six hours to see her.
There are some interesting comments and varying viewpoints on our Facebook page about this announcement by Admiral Mullen. Some think he's on the right track. Others think, for better or worse, the service member should have the freedom to decide whom, if anyone, should be given information.