The Military Times recently ran an article entitled “The U.S. military has a huge problem with obesity, and it’s only getting worse.” If true, maybe they should increase funding for the Army’s weight loss program. It’s bad enough that military.com asks “Are Troops Too Fat to Fight?” Military brass has promised that the future of the force is both smaller and leaner.
The army is getting fatter. It’s not because they’re so stressed from war. They’ve become complacent. Also, it’s important to note that the operational tempo has become so hectic it’s hard to stay in shape. It’s no excuse to widen to obesity, but it’s something to consider. The force is overweight, underpaid, and constantly on the move. They’re ready to do something when they get there. But, when they arrive it’s more paperwork and mundane tasks, but not war. All of this combined probably leads to eating as if it’s a drinking problem. Besides the chow halls abroad openly display a sweet tooth, and aren’t thinking about what’s necessarily healthy.
But, it’s because the standards aren’t being enforced by senior leaders. No one is immune from weak leadership. You could be kicked out if you never adhere to the norm. It’s a cause for relief from an assignment. It also damages combat effectiveness.
Wartime standards are looser standards than peace time. We need men to fight these wars. Fat, slim, tall, short, dumb and smart all welcome to die their country. But we’re moving towards a professional warfighter model. The lines that once separated enlisted and officer are becoming blurred. Eventually, we’ll have citizen soldiers that are more warrior diplomats. But we need to trim the fat first.