Following reports the U.S. Army suggested soldiers go on food stamps, concerns are mounting about how record-setting inflation is affecting military service members.
As America faces historic security challenges demanding greater military readiness, we’re getting the exact opposite.
Guidance released by the U.S. Army last month encouraged troops to apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps, Fox News reported Tuesday.
The recommendations appear to be a bleak acknowledgement of the financial challenges soldiers are facing amid stubbornly high inflation.
- Service members living in housing markets near five major bases have seen average rents jump by 43.9% this year, while stipends increased just 18.7%, according to an Associated Press analysis.
- Nearly a quarter of military service members reported experiencing food insecurity, rising to 43% among enlisted personnel with unemployed spouses, according to Department of Defense data.
- Overall, 57% of military service members have experienced financial challenges, per the DoD, which included “increased costs of living, soaring housing costs, [and] high recurring bills,” according to a survey from the Military Family Advisory Network.
“The men and women who’ve given so much to defend our liberties are suffering under the Biden administration’s failed economic policies,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., tweeted Tuesday.
The U.S. military is also facing a historic recruitment shortfall, with the U.S. Army only filling 68% of its manpower quota of 57,000 enlistees in the fiscal year through July.
- The Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, and Army and Air National Guards have also struggled to meet recruitment goals, making 2022 the worst year for overall military recruitment since 1973, the tail end of the Vietnam War.
- Experts have attributed the recruitment shortfall to a variety of causes, including competition from higher wages in the private sector.
- In 2022 Army recruiters were forced to offer record recruitment bonuses but still missed recruitment targets.
The proportion of military family members who said they would recommend joining the military fell from 74.5% in 2019 to 62.9% in 2021.