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President Obama proposes additional aid for military families

JAN 24 -- At an event to announce some 50 proposals to help service members and their families, President Obama called support for military families not just a moral obligation but a matter of national security.

The series of recommendations reach across numerous federal agencies and the president noted that 16 members of his Cabinet had committed their departments to making military families one of their highest priorities.

The proposals aim to expand career and education options for military families, address homelessness and mental health and protect families from predatory lending. Some of the initiatives are already underway.

"We aren't simply reaffirming our commitment to military families we are upping our game," the president told the crowd gathered in the East Room. "One percent of Americans may be fighting our wars, 100 percent of Americans need to be supporting our troops and their families."

Among the guests in attendance were Attorney General Eric Holder, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, White House Domestic Policy Adviser Melody Barnes and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).

Dr. Jill Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama spoke briefly before the president's remarks. Along with nutrition and exercise, military families have been a main focus of the first lady's over the past two years.

"For me and for Jill, this isn't about just understanding your concerns," the first lady said. "It's about addressing your concerns.  It's about telling your stories throughout the country, but more importantly, giving you a voice with decision-makers."

The recommendations to address some of the critical needs of military families are included in the final report of the Presidential Study Directive-9 (PSD-9), "Strengthening our Military Families: Meeting America's Commitment."