WASHINGTON — Calling it a matter of national security, President Barack Obama on Monday announced 50 wide-ranging federal programs to increase support for military families.

“The readiness of our armed forces depends on the readiness of our military families,” he said at a White House news conference after his wife, Michelle, and Jill Biden, the vice president’s wife, spoke about their efforts to reach out to military families.

Obama said the Presidential Study Directive, ordered last spring, is “reserved for the most important and complex national security challenges" and was the “first one ever on behalf of military families.”

It prompted commitments for military families from the departments of Education, Agricultural and Interior, as well as the rest of Obama’s Cabinet.

The initiatives focus on four main areas: well-being and psychological health of the family; military children’s education and development; career and educational opportunities for military spouses; increasing childcare availability and quality for the armed forces.

The president said that on a recent trip to Afghanistan he met members of the Special Forces and asked what they needed from him. None mentioned equipment or resources.

“They said — to a man — ‘Sir, take care of our families. Take care of our families. If we know our families are all right back home, then we can do our jobs,’” the president relayed.

Kelly Hruska, deputy director of government relations for the National Military Family Association, called the initiatives a “great group effort” that spreads the responsibility so it “doesn’t all fall on the Department of Defense and the services” to take care of military families. She said the government chose 50 actionable issues to focus on, and although communities need to play a large role in supporting military families, the federal government is setting “the right tone.”

Michelle Obama said the initiatives would give military families a “voice with decision makers” and a “seat at the table all across the federal government.”

The programs range from the Department of Agriculture addressing needs of military families in rural areas to the Treasury cracking down on abusive lending practices to the Interior creating more summer jobs for military children. The various programs also address veteran homelessness — for which the president said the country must have “zero tolerance” — suicide and community resources for mental health treatment.

“In other words,” he said, “we’re not simply reaffirming our responsibility to our military families, we are upping our game.”

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