Struggling of military families in unacceptable
An Associated Press article in Monday’s edition of the Williamsport Sun-Gazette sheds light on an intolerable situation: More than a 100,000 military members face difficulties feeding their families.
According to activists, the situation has existed for years and may affect as many as 160,000 enlisted military members holding the first four ranks in their respective branches and their families.
A number of factors contribute to the problem — high housing costs in some of the communities where military installations are located, like San Diego and federal regulations disqualifying many active-duty military families from eligibility for SNAP benefits are two cited in the article.
While the problem is in and of itself morally offensive and demands a solution, it also has practical implications. A military that expects the families of enlisted men and women to struggle cannot be surprised when fewer men and women want to enlist.
“We’re doing a disservice to future recruitment efforts,” Josh Protas, vice president for MAZON, an activist organization addressing the needs of military families, told the Associated Press. “We could be losing good people because they can’t support their families.”
But beyond the impact on military recruitment, the situation needs corrected — the U.S. asks too much in sacrifices from the men and women enlisted in the military for this neglect to be permitted.
While some in Congress are working on legislation to set up basic needs allowance payments for military families most affected by contributing variables and legislation to change SNAP requirements so more military families qualify a more direct, simpler solution is apparent.
The military and its civilian leaders need to reassess budgetary priorities. Pay increases for enlisted men and women need to be a greater priority than new technology and defense contracts.