Pentagon officials are scrambling to develop a workaround after a host server for its military spouse scholarship program failed during a program update in late July.
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) scholarship program offers eligible spouses up to $4,000 in tuition assistance for certain types of courses.
Officials had planned for the application and management site to be down from July 19 to July 27 for all MyCAA-related activities, including new applications or document submittals. Those who needed help were asked to wait until the new website was up and then call a Military OneSource Spouse Education and Career Opportunities (SECO) counselor.
But now Pentagon officials say the site encountered "serious issues" with its host servers during that update. And they don't have a timeline for when it will be fixed.
"The department has been aggressively working to restore the MyCAA application and, while progress is being made, the timeline for completion will depend on the resolution of several technical issues encountered during system restoration," Jessica Maxwell, a Defense Department spokesperson, said in an email. "Unfortunately, military spouses have been unable to access the MyCAA website since the system went down."
Although the system's initial closure was announced in a July 19 email to a Military OneSource listserve, no follow-up notices have been sent. Instead, a banner at the top of the Military OneSource website says, "MyCAA is currently down."
"Technicians are actively working to restore digital access and we appreciate your patience during this transition," says a page linked to that notice. "In the interim, we are working on a process to ensure eligible military spouses are able to continue with their MyCAA courses. We will notify you as soon as this option is available."
Maxwell said officials are working on a temporary plan to let spouses apply for and manage their MyCAA accounts via phone with a Military OneSource SECO career coach.
"DoD will be notifying via telephone those military spouses who have requested callbacks and all registered MySECO spouses via email to ensure they are aware of this workaround," she said. "MyCAA schools will also be informed."
Maxwell said spouses should check the SECO website or social media pages for updates.
When functioning, the MyCAA program is available to spouses whose sponsor is on active duty or activated with the Guard or Reserve in paygrades E-1 to E-5, W-1 to W-2, and O-1 to O-2. Coast Guard spouses are not eligible.
The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which is awaiting the president's signature, orders the Defense Department to do a better job advertising the MyCAA program.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.