Earlier this week, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Dr. Jill Biden released a report that’s worth reading for people who care about kids.

The report, Strengthening Our Military Families: Meeting America’s Commitment, focuses on initiatives by federal agencies – other than the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration – to support military families. The agencies – including Health and Human Services, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, Commerce, and the Small Business Administration offered a combined total of 50 pledges.

So if you don’t have any military connections, you might wonder, “Why read the report?” The answer is simple: Because – in the process of explaining its recommendations – the report tells a story about military families that not enough Americans know.

Read the report, and the first thing you may learn is that the majority of today’s service members have families to worry about. In the days of the draft Army, only about 15 percent of service members were married. Today, 55 percent of the force is married, and 40 percent have two children. All told, there are about 1.9 million children with a parent serving in the military, and 220,000 of these children have a parent currently deployed.

The report focuses on improving four main areas of military life: psychological health, children’s education, work opportunities for spouses, and child care. Certainly, those are concerns for all working families with children.

But the military lifestyle often presents challenges that are tougher to solve than for civilians.

Take mental health. Kids suffer when their parents are gone. As the report notes, there is growing body of evidence to document that long and depleted deployments are fraying already fragile families. While military families used to be considered stable, military children are now classified as at risk for mental health problems along with children and youth in low-income households and those in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Kids also suffer when they see their parents suffer. As the report points out, 9 percent of service members return from war with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and about twice as many suffer from traumatic brain injury (TBI).

For most families, choosing a school or a school district plays a big part in deciding where to work and live. But as the report reminds us, military families don’t get to make that choice. Military kids change schools an average of six to nine times before they graduate from high school; these frequent relocations add stress. And sometimes, their credits don’t transfer from one state or school district to another.

Most military spouses want – and need – to work. But they are frequently unemployed because of their mobile lifestyles. In more than a dozen states, a spouse who moves with a service member can’t collect unemployment; not can a spouse who quits work to care for a wounded warrior. And when military spouses (the majority are female) do have jobs, the wage gap between civilian and military wives is 42 percent.

And finally, there is the matter of child care. Finding – and paying for – good child care is an issue for most families. But as the report reminds us, military families often face challenges not found in other work environments. Shifting work schedules are often longer than the typical 8-hour day, as well as the ever-present possibility of being deployed at a moment’s notice.

The military population is small – only about one percent of our population. And even if you don’t know anyone in that “one percent,” the report will help you understand what all Americans ought to know about the sacrifices military families make to protect the rest of us.