Army Emergency Relief Stockpile

Army charity hoards millions

It sounds like the big green dragon is hoarding AER contributions, an Army version of Smaug sleeping on his pile of Dwarven gold under the Lonely Mountain:

Between 2003 and 2007 — as many military families dealt with long war deployments and increased numbers of home foreclosures — Army Emergency Relief grew into a $345 million behemoth. During those years, the charity packed away $117 million into its own reserves while spending just $64 million on direct aid, according to an AP analysis of its tax records.

This would be at least a little troubling in these troubled times, but the alleged strong-arm tactics to get soldiers to contribute is way overboard. Murdoc has no personal experience with this issue, and certainly isn’t surprised that there’s at least a little bit of “hey, private, how much are you going to contribute?” going on, but the story makes it sound a lot worse than that. Coupled with the apparent lack of interest in really doing a lot of good with the money, I’d say this deserves a much closer look.

Note: This is an AP story. And all that that implies.


  1. When I was in the Corps (not long ago), I remember at least once a year sitting down in a meeting with everybody else in the company and being told that we weren’t leaving the room until we contributed some amount of pay to a charity from some long list. This happened in two different infantry companies, so I don’t know how common it was throughout the rest of the Corps – but it always irked me.

  2. When I was a bucking young LOOtenant (so long ago that we still had rock throwers and our cavalry mounts were dinosaurs) contributions were voluntary, but the Troop Commander’s and First Shirt’s report cards were graded (in part) on how well the unit did on collections for AER, CFC, ACS etc. The coersion was strong, but, invariably the troops had a dozen stories of themselves or friends being screwed by AER over allotments, various other payback schemes, etc. I think in the first five years I was in the service I saw only one grant from AER. The rest were loans, and AER would screw the troop to the wall to get it. My first thought when seeing the story the other day was “So what else is new?”

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