While Americans everywhere are feeling the strain of inflation, military families are also facing challenges unique to a job that maintains a rigid pay scale and leaves you little choice but to move where and when they say so.
Americans everywhere have seen the costs of gasoline, food, and housing skyrocket in recent months and military service members are no exception. In many ways, inflation is exacerbating an already concerning trend of service members — particularly younger troops — being unable to feed their families since their pay hasn’t kept pace with inflation, which was recently reported as having increased by 8.6% since last May. It’s the highest 12-month increase since 1981, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“This also comes at a time where recruiting is a real challenge,” said Katherine Kuzminski, director of the Military, Veterans, and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). “And where it is a readiness concern … at the individual level where service members are concerned with the welfares of their families.”
There are people living in the Washington, D.C., area who cannot comprehend why service members face food insecurity, according to Kuzminski, who recalled an Army official telling her it wasn’t a big deal. But high-ranking officials or officers assigned to the National Capital region not seeing a problem doesn’t mean the problem doesn’t exist.
Community resources like the Armed Services YMCA and the Navy-Marine Corps relief society are “seeing a huge uptick in the need for their services,” Kuzminski said. She added that during a recent trip to San Antonio, Texas — which serves tens of thousands of service members assigned to Joint Base San Antonio — she learned that the San Antonio Food Bank is seeing “a big uptick, not just in families but in military families who are in need of food support.”
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