The announcement has been made that LOA is to be "significantly" reduced. This will have a major impact on all those serving overseas. Not only is life different - not unique - to life in the UK, but it creates additional costs which UK based personnel - who often make the decisions - may not understand. There are very few jobs for spouses, and the numbers are reducing further still, with hours for those lucky enough to be in work being reduced to make savings. Professionally qualified personnel, such as doctors etc, can not find work and risk losing their professional status. All of this runs counter to what is common in the UK. Two income families are the norm in the UK, as that is what is required to maintain a normal standard of living. This is no longer the case overseas as two incomes is now the exception. Employment opportunities for those leaving school at 15/16 is minimal, let alone opportunities for work experience. The average age of an individual living at home with their parents is rising, and is currently about 25 years of age, but if a young person is to do the same in Germany, they rapidly become dissenfranchised from work, peer group and UK life. If the family home is in Germany, or another overseas garrisons, it is a large "ask" to get a 16 year old to move in with a more distant relative in the UK, simply in order that they can begin their adult working life. That is the military making an assumption on the grounds of cost. Choice is restricted in overseas Garrisons. Not only does the BFPO address system fail to keep up with the requirements of modern day living - less for those few companies who post to them - as it makes running UK finances more difficult, but the services - be they statutory or non statutory - do not compare with those on offer in the UK, as overseas Garrisons do not come under a UK Local Authority, and HQ UKSC does not carry the same authority. Do not get me wrong, having servced overseas many times, it is an enjoyable experience and there are man ybenefits but they have, and continue to be eroded making the benefits for the wider family less tangible. People may say that the perks of tax free living offset all of this. Many people would prefer to be closer to their family support network of parents and grandparents and wider circle of friends than driving round in the latest S-Max (the days of BMW's and Mercs in every drive have genuinely gone). Other people may say that unaccommpanied service is the way ahead for all - as made more possible by the introduction of Super Garrisons etc etc. We must remember however that the military's aim is to provide stability for married personnel by supporting them to be with their family. If they change this mission to one of enabling stability for the family whilst allowing the military personnel to serve whereever, through a range of financial incentives, that is all very well and good, but do not achieve that by simply pricing families out of living together when you make the soldier work abroad - that is a cheap way of changing policy. LOA is the bond that keeps these overseas military communities together. Regardless of the mechanism for calculating the levels, it is used at the family level to compensate spouses for not being able to access work. It is used to pay for those services - such as babysitting - which would often be freely available in the UK through the extended family network. It is used to cover the additional costs of keeping in touch with UK based families and friends, whether through greater travelling or more frequent phone calling. And, it is used to allow some families who wish to purchase those staple british products which are - regardless of what the LOA review team think - more expensive overseas. A pte's family have every right to have HP Sauce on their bacon butty if they wish, and should not be denied the right to enjoy such quirks just because their employer has asked them to serve overseas. The fact that the NAAFI remains more expensive (why can they not be as competitive as the US PX chain) only punishes those families who do not - or can not - change their dietry habits to reflect the region or country in which they serve. By cutting LOA as is going to happen in December will only make families choose not to follow their military spouses, increasing the level of separation and marital discord with all the consequences that will follow. All of this will happen as Germany based formations and units are contributing ever large numbers to current operations. Doctrine is dead. Long live Doctrine. Remember, there are three components to fighting power, one of which is the moral component which is costly to maintain and difficult to measure, but LOA is a major part of it for overseas personnel, so touch it at your peril.