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ABOUT NMFA

The National Military Family Association (www.nmfa.org) is a national nonprofit membership organization whose sole focus is the military family. NMFA's mission is to serve the families of the seven uniformed services through education, information and advocacy.

NMFA's Primary Goals

  • To educate military families concerning their rights, benefits and services available to them and to inform them regarding the issues that affect their lives and. . .
  • To promote and protect the interests of military families by influencing the development and implementation of legislation and policies affecting them.

Some Accomplishments

  • Adoption expense reimbursement for active duty military families
  • A comprehensive dental plan for active duty family members
  • Student travel allowance for families stationed overseas
  • Increased active duty survivor benefits
  • Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for service members stationed in areas in CONUS with exceptionally high cost of living

History and Mission of NMFA

The National Military Family Association was organized in 1969 as the National Military Wives Association by a group of wives and widows seeking financial security for survivors of uniformed service personnel and retirees. From their efforts, the Survivor Benefit Plan came into being. In the ensuing years, NMFA has been in the vanguard of advocacy for improvements in the quality of military family life. The name of the organization was changed in 1984 to reflect the broad scope of its involvement. NMFA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) association.

NMFA has members from all ranks of the seven uniformed services worldwide and their families. A working Board of Governors (including active duty service members, reserve component, retirees and spouses), sets the policies, approves the issues, and oversees operations. Governors, Departmental Vice Presidents and officers receive no financial compensation, and volunteers principally carry out NMFA programs. NMFA is privileged to have a distinguished Board of Advisors. We have significant support at the top levels of the services and we work regularly on common concerns with the Council of Military Organizations, The AD HOC Committee, and The Military Coalition.

NMFA activities revolve around programs to educate the public, the military community, and the Congress on the rights and benefits of military families AND to advocate an equitable quality of life for those families. Members of the Government Relations Department study issues, testify before Congressional committees, work with Congressional staffs and represent NMFA on subcommittees of the DoD Office of Family Policy and on councils for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS). We speak regularly to all types of groups, including family service organizations, Commanders' Conferences, and officer and enlisted spouse clubs. More than 100 NMFA Representatives in the field extend our presence worldwide. NMFA has access and credibility in areas where it CAN and DOES make a difference.

Since its inception in 1969, the effectiveness of NMFA is reflected in accomplishments in most of the issue areas in which the association works. These include medical and dental benefits, dependent education, retiree and survivor benefits, relocation and spousal employment. In 1985 NMFA was one of the first organizations to testify before a Senate sub-committee on the critical state of health care for military families.

NMFA, "The Voice for Military Families," is dedicated to providing information to and representing the interests of family members of the uniformed services on which our national security depends. If you are interested in scheduling an NMFA presentation or requesting NMFA promotional materials, please contact calhoun@nmfa.org.

NMFA Notables

NMFA is one of the original 12 co-founders of The Military Coalition (TMC), a group of 35 military organizations that represents 5.5 million active duty, National Guard, Reserve and retired servicemembers plus their families and survivors.

NMFA is the only association invited by the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Military Community and Family Policy to serve on the DoD Joint Family Readiness Working Group, whose purpose is to coordinate information and share best practices to support families during times of deployment and high operational tempo.

NMFA, in addition to being invited to provide input on DoD Dependent Education Activity (DoDEA) programs and initiatives, remains the only organization whose work encompasses all aspects of the education of military children: both civilian and DoD schools, funding, parent information and involvement, Office of the Secretary of Defense and Service support.

NMFA is invited to testify before Congress on family issues each year. In 2002, NMFA testified six times, and has testified four times thus far in 2003. In addition, NMFA testified before DoD’s Reserve Policy Board regarding family support in 2003.

In June 2002, NMFA partnered with the National Endowment for Financial Education to produce and distribute an award-winning financial literacy booklet entitled Military Families: Money and Mobility. To date NMFA has distributed more than 200,000 copies.

In March 2003, NMFA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with DoD, which entrusts NMFA with the coordination and management of financial literacy training for military families (to include servicemembers). NMFA may visit installations in order to accomplish its objectives in educating and training military families in issues pertaining to financial education. NMFA is the only non-profit organization tasked with this responsibility, and must recognize, support, and coordinate the education and training provided by other non-profit organizations in order for them to have access to military families.

In July 2003, NMFA was the only association invited to the Pentagon ceremony at which the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of Labor signed a Memorandum of Understanding regarding military spouse employment. NMFA has been asked to provide input to the Departments as they develop and implement programs to improve spouse employment.

NMFA is sought after as a subject matter expert on military spouses and families by researchers (e.g. RAND), the General Accounting Office (GAO), and various working groups and advisory panels.

Among other groups, committees, and panels, NMFA is a member of, or works with, the following:

  • Army Youth Education Action Working Group
  • Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve
  • Defense Commissary Patron Council
  • DoD Working Group on Financial Education
  • National Guard Bureau Family Programs Office
  • TRICARE Beneficiary Panel
  • TRICARE Next Generation of Contracts Marketing and Education Committee
  • Several TRICARE Contractor Beneficiary Councils

NMFA (as an organization) has been the recipient of the following awards:

  • Department of the Army Commander Award for Public Service (1988)
  • Association of the United States Army Citation for Exceptional Service in Support of National Defense (1988)
  • Defense Commissary Agency Award for Outstanding Support as Customer Advocates (1993)
  • Military Impacted Schools Association "Champion for Children" award (1998)

Several NMFA Board and staff members have received awards for their work on behalf of military families:

  • Military Impacted Schools Association “Champion for Children” Award (Sydney Tally Hickey, 1998; Joyce Wessel Raezer, 1998)
  • Military Chaplains Association of America National Citizenship Award (Sydney Tally Hickey, 1992)
  • University of Central Florida Defense Transition Services Award (Sydney Tally Hickey, 1993)
  • The Military Coalition (TMC) Award of Merit (Sydney Tally Hickey, 1999; Paul Arcari, 2001)
  • DoD Medal for Distinguished Public Service (Sydney Tally Hickey, 1999; Paul Arcari, 2001; Margaret Vinson Hallgren, 2002)

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