How The Married Army Couples Program (MACP) Works

Dual Military Couples Can Navigate Marriage Challenges via the MACP

Military couple kissing
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When both spouses are service members, dual military life as a couple can be challenging. But many choose to endure the hardships, finding a balance between their marriages and their careers.

The Married Army Couples Program is one option the Army has introduced to help navigate these challenges.

What Is the Married Army Couples Program (MACP)?

The Army MACP is a way to keep a family together while accomplishing the missions set forth by the Army. The service established the program in August 1983. It is designed to help ensure that married soldiers are considered for joint domicile assignments, and help couples navigate the inherent challenges of being married while both serve in the Army.

Challenges of Being Stationed Together

The Married Army Couples Program works, but it doesn’t guarantee you will be assigned together. There are a number of things which can make it difficult for the MACP to station a couple together. One example is when two soldiers have the same low-density military occupational specialty (MOS) or job.

MACP also applies to soldiers married to members of other services, but it is more difficult for assignment managers to station them together since they typically operate on different bases. There are also problems stationing soldiers together when they volunteer for special duty, as they may be called way to fulfill their responsibilities.

Soldiers Staying Together as a Couple

While some soldiers place a lot of faith in their branch managers, couples may find it's better to take a more proactive approach to their careers. They should expect to make sacrifices, sometimes above and beyond what unmarried soldiers may face. One may have to decline an appointment, for instance, in the interest of staying close to each other.

The key to a successful dual military marriage is a consideration for each other’s career goals.

Family Care Plans

Another challenge dual military couples must tackle are family care plans, which are written instructions for the care of family members in the event of deployments, temporary duty, or field exercises. Dual military couples have 30 days after arriving at a new unit to produce a valid family care plan, which includes naming both a short-term and long-term care provider.

In some cases, finding a short-term care provider at a new duty station can be difficult. Couples should talk to other married couples and parents before dealing with this situation, since care arrangements can vary from base to base or station.

Benefits of Being a Dual Military Couple

Still, other dual-military couples said while there are difficulties, there are also a number of benefits. Military spouses understand the stress each other faces on the job every day, and can help each other cope with the challenges they deal with. They can pack each other's gear and even if they're not stationed together, can be a sounding board for each other during challenging periods in their respective tours of duty.

Enrollment

According to the Army, soldiers from the following categories can apply to the MACP: Regular Army (RA); USAR Active Guard Reserve (AGR) and Title 10 ANGUS AGR Soldiers married to active duty members of the RA, RCs, other active duty U.S. military Services; USAR Active Guard Reserve (AGR); and Title 10 ANGUS.

Soldiers who are married to a member of another branch of the military may not enroll in the MACP program for automatic joint domicile consideration, but they may request reassignment to join their spouse by submitting a DA Form 4187 to their career branch. Find out more about contacting a branch manager at the Army Human Resources Command (HRC) website.