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Navigating global uncertainty

What's happening 'out there' has real-life consequences for military families. Here are ways to help make sense of it all.


Ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Gaza and beyond have concrete, real-life implications for families here at Fort Liberty and across the U.S.

To get insights into making sense of it all, I spoke with Jessica Strong, the Senior Director of Applied Research at Blue Star Families, about her insights into how families can set themselves up for success as they navigate global uncertainty and prepare for a new year. 

Here are the highlights that Strong, who lives in Cumberland County, shared during our conversation: 

Rely solely on reliable information

Finding credible, vetted information is critical. Strong recommends these sources for timely, relevant information on global conflicts or possible deployments: 

  • Chain of Command, Soldier & Family Readiness Groups — If you are a spouse, your service member’s chain of command will have the most up-to-date, accurate and specific information about possible deployments. 
  • White House and Department of Defense — Though not specific to your unit, these disseminate information frequently about big-picture events, policies and responses. 
  • Blue Star Families Policy & Research Community — Blue Star Families implements ongoing research about a variety of timely issues related to military families. 

Subscribing to each of these entities can bring the headlines right to your inbox and streamline the process of information seeking into your routine. Also maintain best practices for operational security on social media

Household readiness; prepare for success

Strong also mentioned the importance of preparing your household for success. This includes gathering all important information pertaining to accounts, important documents, passwords, powers of attorney, wills, and other household administration items in a place where both the service member and spouse can access them quickly. 

This also includes single service members who may want to share the location of these items with a close, trusted family member, so in the case of deployment, they are already aware. 

In addition, Strong added the significance of communicating expectations for spouse-deployment communication ahead of time. Will each spouse share challenges with the other or keep things light? Are any topics off limits? How will you handle reintegration? Clarifying these expectations with one another ahead of time can go a long way in building trust even with distance. 

Build your family support team for navigating uncertainty

Every family has different routines, rhythms and requirements to thrive. Singles, couples and those with children will each need to prepare a different kind of support system to navigate uncertainty. 

Here is a list of possible partners you could add to your support network. You may not feel the need for each of these now, but getting them in place early will help ensure you have the support you need when you need it. 

  • Your unit military family life counselor — MFLCs are there to support military families and service members for a variety of issues related to military life. They have at least masters-level degrees in mental-health related fields. 
  • Organize free online tutoring for your kids as needed.
  • Set up regular check-points with trusted family or friends. A standing calendar invite for even 15 minutes can take one task off your list and bring a boost to your day!
  • Find a good grocery pickup place or delivery service. 
  • Your unit chaplain or a Family Life Chaplain — Chaplains can offer the highest level of confidentiality and can also refer you to other resources for support. They come from a variety of faith traditions and host services regularly for any military-affiliated members. 
  • Strong mentioned that some families decide to front the cost for a household manager—people to help with meal prep, errands, meal prep, etc. for deployments to help minimize extra stress. 

Utilize resources to build your toolkit for mental health

After numerous of her own family deployment experiences, Strong noted that spouses often take care of themselves last. Setting up tools for your mental toolkit ahead of time will also simplify the process of getting help when you need it most. 

Here are a few to add to your list with some of her recommendations: 

Managing Uncertainty

Uncertainty from global events is a core element of military life, and the ways families and individuals will manage it are unique to each one. Preparation, however, can help families move from reactive to proactive, helping promote peace of mind when changes come. 


Editor's note: As part of CityView's commitment to filling gaps by providing reporting and information for the Fort Liberty community, our HomeFront initiative features two columnists who will write regularly about issues military families face.

Aria Spears is a writer, communications professional and civic leadership enthusiast. With a master's degree in nonprofit and civic leadership, Aria can be found exploring cities, persuading people to join local civic boards and sharing her book The Community Mapping Journal. When it comes to active-duty military family life, she believes that joy makes us strong. 

If there's a topic you'd like for our columnists address, let us know at talk@cityviewnc.com.