US Air Force Chief Reveals Troops’ Biggest Concern


Financial troubles trump all concerns about ‘foreign adversaries’ as US economy teeters from decades-high inflation

The head of the US Air Force has outlined some of the biggest concerns facing US soldiers — and they don’t include Russia or China. Instead, military personnel are increasingly fearful for their economic future, given the skyrocketing cost of living amid severe price inflation.

Speaking at the keynote address at the Air and Space Forces Association’s Air, Space and Cyber ​​conference on Monday, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said many troops are finding it increasingly difficult to cover basic costs, noting that military leadership cannot expect soldiers. . “to give their all to the mission when they’re concerned about paying for gas to go to work, find childcare, or give their family a safe place to live.”

“The most common concerns I’ve heard from pilots and guardians about our inflation, housing costs or conditions, and childcare,” Kendall said, adding: “The past months of inflation have put unique pressures on finances and some of our eminent guards and critical specialties.”

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Citing high inflation and rising mortgage costs — which recently rose above 6% for the first time since 2008 — the official said the Air Force was cutting back on budget cuts. “pay special job order,” which previously gave some soldiers a way to earn extra money.

“Our system to adjust special levies was out of sync with the rapid changes in our economy caused by Covid and the invasion of Ukraine. That’s why I’m announcing today that the [Department of the Air Force] will reinstate all reductions in pay for special duties that were due to take place on October 1, Kendall continued.

While the National Defense Authorization Act of 2023 calls for some of the biggest pay increases for soldiers in nearly 20 years, the bill has yet to pass Congress. In the meantime, Kendall said the military has a… “basic needs allowance program” for soldiers who are having a particularly hard time and would like to work to “Make sure the basic housing allowance also keeps pace with costs.”

Inflation rates in the US have fallen slightly since the summer, when they hit a four-decade high as food, fuel and housing prices soared. According to government statistics, consumer prices rose 9.1% in June compared to the previous year, the largest annual increase since 1981.

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