Over the past decade, debt among U.S troops has been on a steady rise with this phenomenon catching many of those affected off-guard. Information on the exact number of personnel that have fallen into this abyss is often scanty as most records and information is not disseminated to the general public. The bulk of this information can, however, be gathered from the number of U.S troops that are barred from any form of overseas duty due to their debt crises. The Department of Defense (DOD) justifies this policy by claiming that servicemen who are in debt could potentially pose security risks while on active duty(“Debt Problems Plague Troops After Military Service Ends”). The purpose of this essay is to discuss the debt problem that U.S soldiers experience, how they end up in this debacle and the consequences it may have on their careers.
Debt has become a thorn on the side of many in the U.S military with experts attributing it to a plethora of causes. In particular, the debt problem among the members of the military is attributed to a lack of proper financial management strategies among recruits. The wanton and reckless spending common with military personnel further exacerbates the problem. Such is the case due to the exhilaration felt after surviving and returning home from an active war zone after their tour of duty. A psychological need to spend their money impulsively soon follows (Kutz 76). Moreover, the profusion of the so-called “payday lenders” also creates a debt problem, especially when military personnel now have an opportunity to borrow money against the paycheck that they are expecting, often at exorbitant interest rates.
A negative consequence is that the security clearances for service members can be revoked, especially when the debt amounts to 30-40% of their net monthly salary. Military specialists contend that the financial problems that personnel may be facing may distract them from their duties and, in other cases, make them vulnerable to treason or bribery. In extreme cases, military specialists may be discharged from service under Article 134 of the United States Constitution that defines this state as dishonorably failing to pay (Rose 45). In conclusion, the silver lining is that the Pentagon is well aware of this debt problem and is making crucial strides to deal with the crisis. For a start, it has conducted numerous crackdowns on all known “pay-lenders” together with an offer of financial counseling to enable their servicemen to take control of their finances for the purpose of posterity.
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