Army cracking down on overweight soldiers in face of budget cuts

Friday, July 26, 2013 5:08 PM
Last updated 10:32 PM
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Faced with a $37 billion budget shortfall and a significant reduction in troops, the Army is “trimming the fat” by reinstating a program that sends home soldiers who fail to meet body-fat standards, Fort Gordon officials said this week.

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The Army is revising its service-wide body-fat standards for soldiers in the face of budget cuts and reorganization.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
The Army is revising its service-wide body-fat standards for soldiers in the face of budget cuts and reorganization.

The Pentagon revised its body-fat regulations last month in an attempt to “return to the basics” and build a “leaner and meaner force” that includes only soldiers in peak physical condition, said Master Sgt. Christopher Wallace, the training coordinator for the Sig­nal Corps’ Regimental Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

Though height and weight requirements remain unchanged, the Body Composition Program gives commanders the power to flag overweight soldiers and require them to see a dietician, develop an action plan and go through monthly assessments.

The Army was more lenient when soldiers were needed in Afghanistan and Iraq, Wallace said, and overseas command stations did not provide adequate space for troops to exercise.

Now, the Army wants “top-notch recruits who meet and beat the standard, instead of just barely making it,” Wallace said.

First Sgt. Roberto Berry, the head of the NCO Academy at Fort Gordon, said the Army began phasing in changes in Novem­ber. Looming ahead were sequestration, which left a $37 billion hole in the De­fense Department’s budget, and news that troop levels would be cut by 80,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2017.

Within the first two months of the policy shift, eight to 10 soldiers sent to Fort Gordon for signal training initially failed the Army’s physical fitness test, Berry said. Many came within 1 percentage point of meeting body-fat requirements or within five seconds of passing the Army’s 2-mile run, records showed.

Under the Army’s new regulation, Berry said, trainees are sent to a doctor to confirm whether they have allergies or conditions that might prevent weight loss. They are then given a second chance in one to two weeks to meet the body-fat standards and pass the physical fitness test.

“If they are good to go, the training course continues,” Berry said. “If they’re not, they are sent home.”

Back at the home station, the commander who approved the soldier for training has three days to flag a soldier exceeding body fat standards and then two working days to notify and enroll the soldier in the Army Body Composition Program, new rules state.

A soldier who is flagged is not promotable, will not be assigned to command positions and is not authorized to attend military schools or institutional training courses. Within two weeks of enrollment, the soldier must schedule an appointment with a dietician or health care provider and develop an action plan. Monthly assessments will follow, in which soldiers will be expected to lose 3 to 8 pounds or 1 percentage point of body fat each month.

A soldier who doesn’t meet that goal will be shown the door.

From 1990-96, soldiers who did not meet the Army’s body-fat standards were immediately discharged.

Now, soldiers have 180 days from time of entry to meet standards.

Soldiers who are pregnant, have a major limb loss or are have undergone prolonged hospital stays are exempt. Those with a validated temporary medical condition that directly causes weight gain or prevents body fat loss will have six months to resolve the issue.

A physician can extend the period to 12 months, granting a soldier temporary immunity for not showing progress.

Soldiers might be required to modify calorie intake when reduced physical activity is necessary. Dangerous weight-loss tactics, such as fasting, supplements, and vomiting, are prohibited.

Wallace said signal soldiers are still failing the initial test. The good news, he said, is that the number of marginal soldiers has shrunk to one a month.

Berry said he can easily see the Army returning to “one shot, one kill.”

“They want a leaner force, both physically and mentally,” Wallace said. “No longer are we just going to accept mediocre soldiers who get by. Soldiers need to be in compliance or they are going to be sent home.”

BODY FAT STANDARDS

Although the Army has gotten tougher on enforcing weight standards, body fat allowances, listed below, remain unchanged.

AGEMENWOMEN
17-2020%30%
21-2722%32%
28-3924%34%
40 and older26%36%
Comments (12) Add comment
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IBeDogGone
2871
Points
IBeDogGone 07/26/13 - 10:20 pm
3
0
Meaningful Use

The new policy is good since only active duty military that defend our country will in better physical condition. But there is a motive behind enforcing Mass Body Index policies and this is an incentative given for reporting in medical records BMI (and many other Diagnosis and CPT codes) called Meaningful Use. Tricare falls under Medicare guidelines for billing and reimbursement and the Army should capture these funds but once again with our new Health Care Reform things are not spelled out exactly as they are,

TakeAHike
186
Points
TakeAHike 07/27/13 - 01:26 am
4
0
Lax standards!

The reporter should have given examples of the standards to really drive home how EASY it is to meet them and ridiculous it is that there are recruits who aren't. I could easily pass the standards for new recruits and they're less than half my age.

Augustaisdying
528
Points
Augustaisdying 07/27/13 - 02:21 am
0
0
Now, if only RCSD...
Unpublished

Would get rid of all of their obese cops, who couldn't chase down a subject without having a cardiac event, maybe crime wouldn't pay so well in Thugusta.

soapy_725
43557
Points
soapy_725 07/27/13 - 07:08 am
0
0
Inactivity, refined sugar and 2 litre sodas. America at large.
Unpublished

Inactivity, refined sugar and 2 litre sodas. America at large.

soapy_725
43557
Points
soapy_725 07/27/13 - 07:10 am
0
0
Civilian baby sitters. No work details. Lack of discipline. USA
Unpublished

Civilian baby sitters. No work details. Lack of discipline. USA

corgimom
28448
Points
corgimom 07/27/13 - 07:41 am
0
2
This is because of the

This is because of the 80,000-person RIF. No other reason, it has happened before, and will happen again.

nocnoc
38792
Points
nocnoc 07/27/13 - 08:54 am
2
0
Having lived through numerous draw downs

This is typical for the Military.

When war numbers were needed, the reg's are always generally lax.

Between 1964-1972 the Military allowed convicted felons to join and be drafted. A majority in the ARMY became; 11Bushwackers, 05Charlies, 13Gun Bunnies, or Huey Shotgun Riders my dad told me.

When the draw-down for Nam came, over 22,000 criminals were "released" as unfit for military duty.

BTW: I am old school, men and women don't mix in combat.
We should restrict women to non-combat roles, a clearly non-combat theater support role. BUT, IF women and men are to be mixed then for the NOW Votes, the same real world physical requirements should be applied to both. An not the watered down version implemented when the WAC's were disbanded and mixed in with Male soldiers in the early 70's.

corgimom
28448
Points
corgimom 07/27/13 - 11:48 am
0
1
With all due respect, noc

With all due respect, noc noc, the role of an Army soldier has changed considerably. As I have said before, Korea and Vietnam taught the US military that ground wars are a good way to get a lot of people killed with no gains.

You don't have a lug a huge heavy radio on your back anymore, now a soldier just pulls out a cell phone.

Technology has greatly changed the needs of the Army. And not just electronic technology, the uniforms, the gear- it's all much better than it used to be.

corgimom
28448
Points
corgimom 07/27/13 - 01:26 pm
0
1
But you know why the Army is

But you know why the Army is opening these fields to women, noc noc?

Because the quality recruits are dwindling, and brute strength isn't as necessary as it was. They need to have women to fill key MOS's, there aren't enough men volunteering. All part of the volunteer Army, noc noc.

itsanotherday1
40507
Points
itsanotherday1 07/27/13 - 02:26 pm
2
0
I wish they would drop the

I wish they would drop the BMI part of it, as well as height/weight. Body fat measurement is a better indicator of fitness when it is coupled with stamina and strength measurements. I'm not talking about the impedence test, nor the caliper test. The gold standard for measuring body fat is hydrostatic weighing, which is considered accurate +/- 1.5%. Calipers can't account for internal fat, but weighing does.

Judging from the charts, TakeaHike is correct; the standards seem pretty lax. It should be a walk in the park for a 20 year old to achieve 15% BF, much less the 20% standard. I imagine the hyper-fit special ops guys are <10%. Some superfit athletes are 5% or less, but that is rare and risky.

Darby
23690
Points
Darby 07/27/13 - 04:27 pm
1
0
As stated or implied above, when we need

warm bodies, we lower standards. When we don't, we raise those same standards.

It's been going on since WWI at least. Maybe longer. When I enlisted there was no "hot" war going on.

This was following Korea and prior to Vietnam. One of my traveling companions on deployment to Germany was a former Lt. Colonel who was then a sergeant first class. A victim of the RIF. (No doubt some overweight or otherwise under qualified SFC had been bumped to make room for him.)

Later, JFK expanded our role in Vietnam. Even later, I received a combat promotion to First Lt as the race to expand the military was back on in full force.

It's messy, but that's how it works... Don't know whether the SFC got his silver leafs back or not. Always wondered about that.

nocnoc
38792
Points
nocnoc 07/27/13 - 09:54 pm
2
0
Last time I checked

A 155mm HE weight over 85 lbs with SQ fuse and red bags of cordite for zone 8 added another 45+ pounds. Then reload at 3 rounds per minute sustained fire for 5 mins.

A M2-HB weights well over 85 pounds unloaded with Tripod.
A can of 50 cal ammo weighted over 30+ pounds

A M47 Dragon system weight over 40 pounds loaded and about 14 pound per extra round. Try carrying 3 extra rounds at a dead run.

A deuce and a 1/2 tire weights over 100 pounds.

Even a mess hall cooking pot used to feed 100's weight 100's.

Sure we have nice shiny tech toys,
but the fire power is what kills and it weights, an it has to be carried distances to do the killing.

I worked support around a Pink SF team (1992-3) for a few months. An because the enemy does not change tactics or adjust war down for women, the Pink Team was tested at the same level as men.

They failed repeatedly to met standard training goals expected of any SFOD or SWIC grad.

Generally speaking Women in a front line combat units are useless as warriors.

Darby
23690
Points
Darby 07/27/13 - 10:47 pm
2
0
"Generally speaking Women in a front line

combat unit are useless as warriors."

.
Yeah, nocnoc - but they are valuable beyond all belief in fund raising among the Hollywood and Limousine Liberal groups.

nocnoc
38792
Points
nocnoc 07/28/13 - 07:44 am
1
0
Darby - zero in on the dates provided.

Yep... Our boy Bill, his political Parties Pro-NOW agenda.
Demanded that SWIC/SFOD implement Pink Teams.

It would be fair to say there was an exponentially higher failure rate for the women using the standard Q-course and training process.

An that was with Oversight to ensure an honest Training and Evaluation process.

Women Warriors don't work, it is a Liberals pipe dream, like putting flowers in gun barrels to stop war.

If we really wanted to stop large wars?
Send in a Recon Force or ST or SFOD-D to eliminate their leadership.

But this poses issues for politicians:

1. Arms dealers and DOD contractors would be cut out. No $$$$ down the road for board of Director seats and consulting gigs for family and "friends".

2. If we when to the heart of the problem the enemies Leadership they would come after ours. but while it seems politicians have no problems killing off voters, they do have a problem, putting their butts on the line for the Defense Industrial complex.

BTW: Ever notice how Hollyweed or TV frequently seems to make or run certain selected movies at certain political times?

Darby
23690
Points
Darby 07/28/13 - 03:23 pm
1
0
"BTW: Ever notice how Hollyweed or TV

frequently seems to make or run certain selected movies at certain political times?"

.
And how those directors and producers seem to be able go get access to classified information that some in Congress can't even get?

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