With about 84,000 military couples (military married to military)
in the United States military each of the services have an
assignment program called "Joint Spouse."
In order to participate in the Joint Spouse program both members
must apply. If
you are considering this option you should know what the military
will and will not do for you.
There is no guarantee, but the military will make every effort
to station military spouses at the same base. If that isn't
possible they will try to station the military couple within
100 miles of each other.
No job-slot just for a spouse
The military will
not create a job-slot for a spouse just to assign the couple
together. If you are not in the same branch of service it
gets more complicated. For example, if one spouse is a Marine and one
is in the Army. In order for them to be stationed at the same
base either the Marine base would have to have a job-slot
open for the Army spouse or the Army base would have to have
a job-slot for the Marine spouse.
Time-on-station rules apply
a military couple might face is that "normal time-on-station"
rules apply. In general, in order for a military member on
his/her first enlistment, assigned to a CONUS (Continental
United States) base, to move overseas, he/she must have 12
months time-on-station. In order for the military member on
his/her first enlistment to move from one CONUS base to another,
he/she must have 24 months time-on-station.
When assigned to
an overseas tour, there is a set-tour length, generally 24
months for a single person, and 36 months for a married person
who is accompanied by his/her spouse and/or dependents. For
"careerists," (those who have re-enlisted at least
once), the time-on-station requirements are greater. For a
careerist to move from CONUS to overseas requires 24 months
time-on-station, and to move from CONUS to CONUS requires
36 months time-on-station.
Here is an example of how the normal time-on-station might
impact a couple: Two privates marry after job training. One
is assigned to a base in Florida and the other to a base in
Washington D.C. If they want to be stationed at the same base
they will have to wait 2 years because neither one can move
to another CONU base S for 24 months. Their only option might
be for both to apply for duty overseas, apply for Joint Spouse
status, and cross their fingers that they are selected. The
down side is that even if everything works out it will still
be 12 months before they can move.
Another important tip is that you should apply for Joint Spouse
status before you get an assignment. It takes several weeks
to process and once you are at your assignment it is too late
because time-on-station rules apply and you can't move until
your rotation date (2 years if assigned overseas and 1 year
Military couples stationed together have housing options.
They can live off-base and receive a housing allowance, or
can give up the housing allowance and live free in on-base
family housing, If there are no other dependents (children),
each member is treated as "single" (for housing
allowance purposes), and each will receive the single-rate
Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) appropriate for their rank
and assignment location. If there are children, one member
receives the with-dependent rate, and the other member receives
the single rate. It is usually to the couples advantage to
let the senior ranking spouse receive the "with dependent"
rate. If a military couple is not stationed at the same base
and there are no dependents, each member is considered "single"
when calculating the housing allowance.
When a military member's orders cause them to be separated
from their dependents for longer than 30 days they are eligible
for Family Separation Allowance (currently $250 /per month).
The same applies to military-married-to-military, with the
(1) The members must be residing together immediately prior
to the departure
(2) Only one member can receive the allowance. Payment shall
be made to the member whose orders resulted in the separation.
If both members receive orders requiring departure on the
same day, then payment will go to the senior member.
Military couples with children must develop a "family
care plan." This is a very important issue and it must
specify what arrangements they have made for their children
in the event they are both deployed. This is taken very seriously
and failure to create and keep a current plan can result in