“This is not about authoritarian regulation,” Dr. Jonathan Woodson, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said in an interview. “It is about the spouse understanding warning signs and, if there are firearms in the home, responsibly separating the individual at risk from the firearm.”

Dr. Woodson, who declined to provide details, said the campaign would be introduced over the coming months. He said that it would also include measures to encourage service members, their friends and relatives to remove possibly dangerous prescription drugs from the home of potentially suicidal troops.

In another step considered significant by suicide-prevention advocates, Congress appears poised to enact legislation that would allow military mental health counselors and commanders to talk to troops about their private firearms.