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Highlights

Since the advent of the all-volunteer Army in 1973, the number of servicemembers with spouses and children has grown significantly. Although the Department of Defense (DOD) has responded positively to this change, GAO believes that some current family benefits could be strengthened. For example, despite improvements to the quality of military child care centers, DOD needs to further expand child care capacity. Moreover, DOD faces challenges in increasing awareness and use of these benefits. GAO compared the military's benefits with those of the private sector, including retirement pay, health care, life insurance, and paid time-off, and found no significant gaps in the benefits offered to active duty servicemen and women. In fact, some military benefits exceed those offered by the private sector.

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