Source: President-Elect Biden Transition Team

Today, Defense Secretary-designate Lloyd Austin joined leaders of several organizations for a virtual roundtable to discuss the challenges American servicemembers and their families, caregivers, and survivors are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Secretary-designate Austin thanked the leaders, many of whom have loved ones serving overseas during this holiday season, for the sacrifices they have made for their country and for their many years of advocacy on behalf of military families, caregivers, and survivors. They had a productive discussion on the many ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted military families, including exacerbating existing challenges like military spouse unemployment and underemployment, access to health care and mental health resources, food insecurity, and childcare. Secretary-designate Austin affirmed that, once confirmed, he looked forward to continued engagement with military family organizations and would prioritize investing resources into these and other issues related to COVID-19 that have disproportionately impacted many military families over this past difficult year. 

Secretary-designee Austin was joined by:

  • Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO, Blue Star Families
  • Ashish S. Vazirani, CEO, National Military Family Association
  • Shannon Razsadin, President, Military Family Advisory Network
  • Anne Marie Dougherty, CEO, Bob Woodruff Foundation
  • Steve Schwab, CEO, The Elizabeth Dole Foundation
  • Verenice Castillo, CEO, President & Founder,  Military Spouse Advocacy Network
  • Sue Hoppin, President, National Military Spouse Network
  • Janet Sanchez, Founder, Esposas Militaires
  • Kristina Kaufmann, CEO, Code of Support Foundation
  • Bonnie Carroll, President and Founder, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)
  • Rebecca Porter, PhD., President and CEO, Military Child Education Coalition