China and Russia, which are regularly listed by military leaders as their top concern, don’t seem to ‘enjoy’ the same status among American soldiers among which finances are far outpacing any worries over foreign adversaries due to high inflation.
As the US economy reels from decades-high inflation, the head of the US Air Force outlined on Monday some of the greatest concerns among servicemen, which are now most fearful of their economic future considering the skyrocketing living costs they’re facing.
According to Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, who delivered the keynote address at the Air and Space Forces Association’s Air, Space, and Cyber conference, said many soldiers are finding it increasingly difficult to cover basic expenses.
Underscoring the unique pressures on the troops’ finances the past several months of inflation has put, Kendall stressed that soldiers can’t be expected to completely invest themselves in the mission while under the burden of worries over how they’ll pay the bills, buy gas, cover the increasing housing costs, provide a safe place to live for their family and find childcare for their children.
The surging mortgage costs, which recently jumped above 6% for the first time since 2008, and the high inflation rates enticed the Department of the Air Force to restore all the cuts to ‘special duty assignment pay’ that were scheduled to take place on 1 October, Kendall announced.
The special duty assignment pay previously allowed some soldiers a way to earn additional money and the department’s system to adjust it, as he pointed out, was out of sync with the rapid changes in the US economy brought on by Covid and the war in Ukraine.
While waiting for some of the largest pay increases for soldiers in nearly 20 years the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act calls for – it has yet to pass Congress- a basic needs allowance program will be launched by the military for soldiers under financial hardship.