By the Numbers: 26 July 2021

By the Numbers: 26 July 2021

11 Million

The number of "man days" for which the National Guard was activated last year, according to a recent Washington Post article. A spokesman for the National Guard Association of the United States, an advocacy organization, pointed out that this is "the highest number since World War II."

The article -- The rising cost of being in the National Guard: Reservists and guardsmen are twice as likely to be hungry as other American groups -- addresses "extreme food insecurity" among National Guard and Reserve members due to the burden and length of active deployment, although a spokesman for the National Guard Bureau disputes the numbers in the article and says "he has not encountered service members who have complained of household hunger."

Yet several military advocacy groups said they are seeing rising problems with food insecurity, and suggest such problems might be invisible to military leadership. Jennifer Davis, lobbyist for the National Military Family Association, said hungry Guard members and reservists are motivated to seem “fine" and are hesitant to seek help or reveal financial hardship.

“A service member has to consider promotability and clearances: You can’t afford to struggle too badly; you have to keep your bills paid,” she said. “You can lose your clearance if your finances are in a shambles, we’re talking even a bounced check. If it comes between paying the bills and keeping food on the table, there’s pressure to pay those bills. And there are concerns about sharing with your leadership that you’re struggling to take care of your family, because you never want that to come back and haunt you when you’re up for promotion.”