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Pentagon: No, 25% of Troops Do Not Use Food Banks

Pentagon: No, 25% of Troops Do Not Use Food Banks

The Pentagon blasted the shoddy methodology of a new report by the nation’s largest food bank network that claims 25% of military members are forced to use food banks to feed their families. 

On Monday, NBC News ran the dramatic headline: “Hungry Heroes: 25 Percent of Military Families Seek Food Aid.” NBC based the article on a study by Feeding America and reported that “25% of the nation’s total active duty or reserve personnel” are “seeking aid from food pantries and other charitable programs across the country.” Feeding America estimated that some 620,000 members of the military–a figure nearly 25% of active duty troops–rely on food banks. 

There is just one problem says the Pentagon: the study’s methodology was fatally flawed. 

A Pentagon spokesman told Military.com that Feeding America surveyed households, not individuals, and then compared those figures to military statistics, thereby using fuzzy math to blur its findings. 

“Without performing appropriate statistical adjustments to match the survey sample with the military population, it is impossible to accurately calculate an estimated percentage of military households served by the Feeding America’s programs based on the survey data,” Navy Cmdr. Nathan Christensen told Military.com. 

Christensen added:

The work of Feeding America and other organizations will help the Department amplify the DoD resources available to service members and families, particularly in high-cost locations. The Department of Defense recognizes that personal financial readiness of service members and their families must be maintained to sustain mission readiness.

A closer examination of Feeding America’s methodological explanation for its shaky military metric reveals the organization used several hedge words that suggest it, too, lacked full confidence in its headline-grabbing statistic. After explanation its rudimentary survey approach, Feeding America conceded that, after using its “broad estimation process,” it “appears” that Feeding America “may” serve one in four “households” with an active duty military member or reservist.  

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