Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs and Eligibility

Military Recreation, or Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) programs, promote active living through participation in recreation, fitness, sports, cultural arts, and other leisure pursuits. Active living builds positive self-esteem and esprit de corps – essential qualities for personal and professional success. Active living also leads to improved personal health and well-being and helps build resilience and strong military families.

An overview

MWR is a comprehensive network of support and leisure programs and services designed to improve the quality of life of service members, their families, and other eligible patrons. MWR consists of a wide range of programs and services from fitness and outdoor recreation to libraries and bowling centers. Available programs and services vary at each installation.

MWR goes by many names across the Department of Defense (DoD): Army Family and MWR (FMWR), Marine Corps Community Services (MCCS), Navy MWR, United States Air Force Services, and Coast Guard Morale, Well-Being, and Recreation. Regardless of the name, all provide service members and their families with a variety of recreational programs on and off the installation.

Available programs

Although MWR programs may vary from installation to installation, general MWR programs include:

  • Fitness and sports. Fitness and sports programs develop cardiovascular fitness, strength conditioning, and flexibility, and promote healthy lifestyles. These include: swimming; self-directed, unit level, or intramural sports and athletics; and sports programs above the intramural level that provide competitive events.
  • Library programs and information services. The DoD MWR library activities support readiness and the military mission, professional and technical education and training, Internet access, transition and career assistance, relocation assistance, and leisure needs of the military community.
  • Recreation programs. Recreation programs provide opportunities for social interaction, self-expression, leisure pursuits, and cultural and educational activities that appeal to all segments of the community. These can include: free admission movies; outdoor recreation programs; recreational classes such as sailing, skiing, kayaking, auto skills, and swimming; and arts and crafts and other special interest programs.
  • Leisure travel. The DoD Information, Tickets, and Tours (ITT) program provides economical opportunities for service members and their families to satisfy their needs for national, regional, and local travel, tours, attractions, and events.
  • Recreational lodging. Recreational lodging offers eligible patrons the opportunity to relax and enjoy their vacation at a premier location while providing significant savings to the service member in the process. Recreational lodging allows patrons to rent cabins, trailers, chalets, cabanas, beach houses, cottages, or hook-ups in trailer/recreational vehicle (RV) parks. Additionally, Armed Forces Recreation Centers are resorts operated by one Service for all of the DoD Components' use for the primary purpose of providing rest and recreation activities.
  • Single service member programs. These programs support the overall quality of life for single service members ages eighteen to twenty-five by offering exciting and diverse programs and services that appeal to this age group and by encouraging and assisting single service members in identifying and planning for recreational and leisure activities.
  • Revenue generating programs. These programs generate enough income to cover most operating expenses so they receive very limited appropriated fund (APF) support. Typical programs include golf courses, food and beverage programs, bowling centers, and marinas.
  • Child care and youth programs. Child care and youth programs provide a system of quality, available, and affordable programs and services for eligible children and youth from birth through eighteen years of age. Specific programs include the Child Development Program, Youth Activities, Family Child Care, School-Age Care, and child care resource and referral.


Eligibility for MWR programs and services is broken up into two categories: unlimited use and limited use.

  • Unlimited use. Generally, uniformed service members and their families have unlimited access to MWR services and programs:
    • service members on active duty
    • members of the Reserve Components (Ready Reserve and National Guard; Reservists in training.
    • cadets of the Service Academies and Merchant Marine Cadets
    • retired service members
    • honorably discharged veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability
    • Medal of Honor recipients
    • non-remarried surviving spouses and orphans of personnel who have died on active duty or in retired status, or who were married to the service member for twenty years while they were on active duty
    • DoD and Coast Guard civilians stationed outside the United States
  • Limited use. Limited use eligibility requirements are established by the installation commander subject to local demand and capacity. The following groups of people may have limited access to MWR programs and services, based on the local installation patron eligibility policy:
    • DoD and Coast Guard civilians stationed inside the United States
    • retired DoD civilians
    • DoD contract personnel and technical representatives when working full-time on the installation
  • Detailed charts describing patron eligibility requirements can be found in Enclosure 4 of DoD Instruction 1015.10, "Military Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) Programs," July 6, 2009, certified as current May 6, 2011. Check with your installation for additional local eligibility requirements.


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