Behind the Photo: The Unexpected Job Duties of a Commanding Officer

May 14, 2013
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As an Army commander, Captain Brandon Archuleta's duties include not only leading his troops in war but also helping them to combat their financial ills. Despite the Military Lending Act, which cracks down on predatory practices against service members, young and financially naive enlisted persons often turn to alternative lending sources to try to get back on track. Payday and other short-term lending businesses are easily accessible, on the Web or in storefronts that line the roads around bases, but typically do not provide a solution. When military borrowers fall behind, the debt collection calls and letters eventually evolve into intervention by their commanding officer or a military attorney. That means helping the borrower to set up a payment plan, seeing to it that he or she gets financial counseling, and trying to preserve the soldier's security clearance and military career. "I think in the last twelve years we've seen military officers as war fighters, we've seen them as diplomats," says Archuleta. "But what we don't see is the officer as social worker, financial advisor and personal caregiver."
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