Army Chief Milley: US ARMY AT RISK – Tens of Thousands of Soldiers Out of Action, 20,000 Permanent Undeployables

Sgt. Marshall Lane competes in a ruck march. Image source: U.S. Army photo by Spc. Khadijah Lutz-Wilcox, USACAPOC, public domain.

In his testimony before Congress on Thursday, Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley put forth a concerning picture of the readiness of the United States Army: Soldier readiness is below half that of the Army’s goal, and tens of thousands of soldiers are reportedly non-deployable, many of them permanently. The reason for this state of affairs is medical – Milley testified that 90% of non-deployable soldiers were out for medical reasons, with most of those being orthopedic. According to Milley, 20,000 non-deployables (over 2% of the total personnel in the Army) have been assigned permanent non-deployable status and are being processed through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). A portion of Chief Milley’s conversation with Senator Jack Reed is transcribed below:

Reed: “General Milley, Army readiness, uh, Brigade Combat Teams, as I understand that now, is roughly 30%, is that a fair judgement about the readiness status?”

Milley: “Roger, that’s correct. The exact readiness I’d be happy to brief you or your staffs – it’s classified – but as an order of magnitude, sure.”

Reed: “Sure, we’re in that ballpark.”

Milley: “And the goal of course is 66%.”

Reed: “66%. And what are the two or three key steps that you have to take, you think, to get from where it is today to that 66%?”

Milley: “Yeah, there’s several of them, but the long, the most significant right now, the drag, if you will, is manning. Many of these units are not at the full manning level, and that drags down their readiness, in terms of the reporting system we have. But also in terms of going out to training and/or deployment. So if a unit would have a significant amount of non-deployables, though we’ve dropped that number by two
thirds over the last 5 years, but there’s still a significant amount of non-deployables, so if we fill units at 95%, and we have 10% non-deployables it takes you to 85%, you take away the day-to-day grind, you’re down to 80% or less that goes out to training. That is not a good thing. You should at least be 90-95% when you go out to training, you go to the Combat Training Center. So manning is the critical drag
on the system. We have made improvements because of the money you gave us in terms of spare parts and maintaining the equipment better, so that’s a good news story there, but the manning has continued to drag. So with the Authorization ’17 to take us to 476, what we want to do is make the existing force structure whole, there are some minor force structure increases in this budget request, but we want to make the force structure that does exist complete, whole, and fully ready, before we move on to the next step which is expanding the Army.”

Reed: “And, in that regard, I understand 10% of the non-deployable personnel are non-deployable for medical reasons.”

Milley: “About 85-90%, actually are medical, the rest of them are legal and other reasons.”

Reed: “And how are you trying to get at that? Is there something in terms of enhanced training or lifestyle or anything else? That seems to be a significant problem.”

Milley: “Yeah, the majority of those are orthopedic-type injuries. Most are recoverable with some extended profiles. So they are non-deployable in the short term. Total Army, out of the million-plus troops, about 20,000 – about 2% or so – are hard down; they’ll never be able to deploy. And those we’re working through the IDES system, and the number of days it takes to process them has come down from well over a year in the 370s-390s in the range of days, we’ve got it down by a hundred days to 270, so we’re trying to chip that away so that reduces the number of permanent non-deployables down and the VA then picks up their care. There’s several things we have to do internal to the organization.”

Reed: “One of the things I assume you have to do is improve recruitment and retention. In order to get to your – just to fill up the current existing force structure, is that accurate?”

Milley: “Our recruitment and retention are, at this point, meeting the goals. Last year we had 100% across the board, to date this year we’re about 80% or so for recruitment, and about 75% to date – of course the year’s not finished yet – on retention. With the increase in end-strength authorization to 476, we significantly increased the recruiting and retention missions. I think we’ll be within 1%, plus or minus of achieving that by 1 October.”

The figures Milley quotes do not seem to be much changed versus reports from this time last year, which quoted a figure of approximately 100,000 non-deployable soldiers in the Army. If that is still the case, it would mean that almost a tenth of the Army is unable to fight due to medical reasons. Milley did report, however, that the rate of non-deployables has been cut by 2/3rds over the past five years, likely substantially due to rotation of soldiers since the scaling back of US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What this seems to indicate is that the injury rate for the average soldier in the Army is too high, creating a severe readiness problem. How could the injury rate be reduced? Possible methods include better physical conditioning, better medical oversight for Army units, and a reduced soldier load.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Mystick

    There are plenty of duties for “REMF’s of circumstance”… most of the armed service positions are (not literally) desk jobs of one flavor or another – mostly logistics, which is what gives our military a force multiplier in terms of moving equipment and men from point A to point B through point C – not necessarily front-line, hard-edge fighting “operators”. I’m certain these men(and women, now, I suppose) can be assigned some duty and be retasked for a position fitting their medical status…

    • some other joe

      The positions you refer to are sound like echelons above reality jobs normally filled by civilian government employees and/or contractors. So, yes, the “REMFs of circumstance” can fill those, just as soon as they’re medically retired and apply for the positions that stay filled by the same individual for ~20 years.
      Otherwise, if they’re in uniform, they have to be fit to fight.
      Soldiers who can’t be fixed need to transition to the next phase of their lives, with all the support the country owes them.

      • Brad

        Not really. Just look around any military installation, I just back from Ft Bliss a couple minutes ago, there are a lot of jobs that non-deployable troops can do. From checking IDs at the front gate, almost every “paper pusher” job at installation level, even staff jobs at Division and Brigade level. I saw a lot of green suiters working at jobs that didn’t require you to carry your own body weight everywhere you went.
        If they are hard down then they need to go, if they are circle red X then give them time to recover.

      • M1911

        The US Army’s tail to tooth ratio is well above 10 to 1. That is, there are more than 10 soldiers for every shooter. There are plenty of positions for those who can no longer fight.

        • some other joe

          That’s not what tooth to tail means. Tooth is combat arms. Tail includes the MOs and truck drivers and everyone else who is just as likely to have to shoot someone as part of their support role than the shooters. My 93 soldiers in the support company as well as the hundred some in the SQDN HQs and another dozen between the Troop HQs were part of the tail for about a 60/40 ratio. But are you saying my truck shouldn’t have needed machineguns on their MTVs or I shouldn’t worry about a security plan for the combat trains? That my company didn’t have to worry about fighting?

  • codfilet

    “Medical”… how many are pregnancies?

    • some other joe

      Do you think the right answer is for a woman to put off starting a family until retirement? ‘Salright for the guys to make babies whenever they want, but the other side has to wait until they’re damn near 40 or older? WTF?

      • codfilet

        Nobody drafted ’em….

      • DC

        If it makes them incapable of fulfilling their role? Yes.

      • b0x3r0ck

        Codfilet I feels has a point besides its no where near the age of 40 your blowing it out of proportion.

        • some other joe

          How old is retirement? About 40.

          How many kids can a man have in the military by retirement?

          How many can a woman have in the military by retirement?

      • UWOTM8

        Tell me why we NEED women in the military, again? Is there something they can do better than men, there?

        • Major Tom

          Look sexy while carrying a rifle. We men can’t do that.

        • If a woman can meet the physical standards, complete the training, and reliably pull a trigger to kill some sorry SOB in the wrong color outfit, what exactly is your complaint? Johnny Jihadi doesn’t care who puts an M855 through his dome, and neither should you.

          • CommonSense23

            Except women have higher injury rates, require more recovery time do to hormone levels, less upper body mass among a host of issues. The infantry is not a place for them.

          • Hormone levels. Hormone levels.

            …Are you literally Newt Gingrich?

          • CommonSense23

            Are suggesting that testosterone levels in women don’t matter?

          • I’m suggesting you don’t have the first clue what you’re talking about, I don’t know how I could have made that any more clear.

          • CommonSense23

            So you have no actual rebuttal to that.

          • Got me there, buddy– I guess you’re a genius after all!

            ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

          • CommonSense23

            Well it doesn’t take much of a genius to know that women’s short term and long term performance the infantry is going to be negatively effected by biological differences. That things like having a significantly less testosterone than males, muscles density and distribution differences, less cardiovascular capability, and skeletal differences are all going to negatively effect performance.

          • valorius

            Not to mention the drama….

          • If you scroll back up you can probably find the part where I said “If a woman can meet the physical standards, complete the training, and reliably pull a trigger“; when we’re starting with a group of people who have already all met or exceeded the physical and skill training requirements, your complaint here boils down to “Diqus user CommonSense23 just has a thing against women in general for ~~some~~ reason”.

          • CommonSense23

            Um no. I have nothing against women killing people. The best CAS I have ever had had been provided by a women.
            My issue is women can’t meet the same standards due to biological differences and be equal to a male.

          • You… didn’t actually read the comment you’re replying to at all, did you. We’re starting here with a group of people who have already met those standards– your stated complaint does not apply to them.

          • CommonSense23

            Meeting standards doesn’t mean a man and women is equal. How hard is that to understand.

          • So you… don’t… actually understand what “meeting standards” means.

            Do you also think a pound of lead weighs more than a pound of feathers?

          • CommonSense23

            No. I understand biological differences. A woman who puts up the same numbers as a man isn’t equal. She has far worse recovery rates while being more likely to expience greater injury. How do you not understand that?

          • valorius

            Show me the woman that has ever won the overall title at the boston (or any other) marathon. Or the woman that has ever won the overall power lifting (or any other lifting) title. Or the woman with the 100 mph fast ball. Or the woman that can run a 4.2 40′, etc, etc, etc.

            Women are physically inferior, it is just a fact of life. It boggles my mind that people even debate it.

            Seriously- if you were in a death match, fighting for your life, would you rather it be against Brock Lesnar, or Ronda Rousey?

          • Which one had a higher score on their rifle quals? Which one has a Combat Badge? I’m not talking about men-in-general and women-in-general here, I’m talking about male and female soldiers in the United States Army; training standards exist for a reason, and people– women or men– who can’t meet those standards don’t make it through Basic, much less get sent to Roksandirtistan to kick down doors. If a soldier can meet the minimum physical aptitude standards, I don’t give two tenths of a damn who or what they are aside from “soldier”; find a job for them somewhere in the Army and put ’em to work.

          • valorius

            Women can shoot just as well as men, that’s not the issue.

            The standards were lowered repeatedly so women can serve. That’s going back even before i was in.

          • Uniform223

            Ronda rousey because I would still have half a stalk when she puts me into some kind of lock or hold. Though if given the chance… Gina Carano.

          • valorius

            Ronda Roussey is pretty nasty honestly. Gina Carano- we agree there. 🙂

          • Bill

            If you’re implying that testosterone level is a factor is aggression and that women are somehow bereft because they don’t produce as much, well, you just haven’t been to enough trailer park domestics or neighbor disputes.

            It doesn’t matter.

          • CommonSense23

            No testosterone is factor in physical performance and recovery. You might want to do some research in sports science.

          • Kivaari

            Good point. Another reminder of why I like retirement.

          • valorius

            I bartended for a lot of years. Many times i saw less than classsy women provoke less than classy men into knocking them the F out. Never once saw a woman put a man on his butt in such a situation.

            If i ever had to serve again, and had to go into combat, i would prefer it were against women. They are much, much easier to gut like pigs.

          • n0truscotsman

            Its not even about aggression. Its about muscle and bone density.

            But you shouldve known that already. More Mark Rippletoe and less Thought Catalog.

          • valorius

            How do you make a hormone? Don’t pay her.

          • Bill

            They have stronger cardiovascular systems and are better problem solvers; you don’t see them reaching for the bigger hammer right off the bat.

          • CommonSense23

            How are you getting stronger cardiovascular systems. Men have bigger hearts, higher VO2 max, greater lung capacity and a higher maximum heart rate.

          • Bill

            Look at the rate of cardiovascular disease in men vs women. The rate is roughly the same, but women have disease onset later in life, when none of us are still at peak disemboweling age. Men have bigger organs because being bigger than women they need bigger organs just to survive

          • CommonSense23

            Or organs being bigger gives us better performance also. And getting less cardiovascular disease doesn’t mean your system is stronger.

          • Bill

            My research in exercise physiology says otherwise.

          • CommonSense23

            Obviously your research sucks. I would love to see where you are getting you into.

          • n0truscotsman
          • valorius

            Says who? Is that why the science fields are dominated by men? Because women are better problem solvers? Take your SJW nonsense over to TYT page.

          • valorius

            I agree one million %. Even if a woman was 100% physically capable of serving, the drama they bring to a unit is 100% not worth it.

          • UWOTM8

            And you still didn’t answer my question. Why do these fields NEED women? The military isnt run off of feeling and social experiments, it’s about the most efficient way to kill enemies. Disrupting a field that does that just fine so that a handful of women can feel “included” and “empowered”? Give me a break.

          • It was a dumb question, that’s why I ignored it. Why does a military ~~NEED~~ only men? Reflexively eliminating half the population as potential servicemembers because you’re afraid of cooties or whatever is pants-on-head stupid; the overwhelming majority of what the Army does isn’t 11B doorkicking and rifle firing, and putting Beef McLargehuge behind a desk in Fort Sill so he can coordinate supply shipments is a waste of resources.

          • UWOTM8

            How is it a stupid question if it observably worked for centuries?
            To make my position clear, I don’t really care about women in support roles.
            However, women in combat should be obvious. Why did men almost exclusively wage war for almost then entirety of human history? Because men are far better suited for it, physically and psychologically. Ever been on a ruck march with a handful of women mixed in your unit? I’ll give you 3 guesses as to who’s complaining about the pace and weight all the time.
            But by all means, go ahead and tell me that women and men are exactly the same, or something else that can be debunked by casual observation and an elementary school science textbook.

          • Bill

            If all you are using is casual observation and elementary school science you aren’t a very good evaluator.

          • UWOTM8

            And if you’re actually incapable of seeing what that sentence meant within the context of my other posts, you aren’t very good at English comprehension. Keep White-Knighting, though.

          • Announcing that you don’t understand what common terms mean is not a strategy calculated to make the audience at home think you’re The Smart Guy in the argument.

            (I’ll give you hint: “white-knighting” involves an immediate profit motive or attempt to get something from a specific individual, you can seriously look up definitions of terms from online dictionaries if you have internet access)

          • UWOTM8

            Are you serious? I’ve got your panties in a knot now, lol.

          • Protip: much like He Who Smellt It, the first one to throw down an unironic U MAD, BRO? is the 200% mad one 100% of the time.

          • UWOTM8

            Shouldn’t you be trying to refute the actual article and statistics I just posted?
            Geez, you sound like 2011-vintage YouTube troll.

          • …Says the guy who’s apparently still afraid of cooties.

          • UWOTM8

            Dude, did you actually read the article? I’m serious.

          • UWOTM8

            It’s on NPR “marine corps study: all male units found more effective” TFB doesn’t allow links.

          • Tassiebush

            They do allow links but it’s probably just pending a moderator’s approval.

          • Brad

            “White Knighting is an attempt at being a feminist ally that assumes that men are better feminists than women are.”

          • Yyyeah, look it up on KnowYourMeme; it was in fact a well-understood term long before that specific infinitely-quoted-on-Reddit version you got from Wikia. Even that Powered-By-Wikia variation goes out of its way to make the point that you’re tapdancing around here, that it’s not a broad spectrum term to include any instance of anyone pointing out that a woman-hater is full of the shizzle-nizzle, it’s specific to a particular dude showing off to a particular ladyperson because he expects a reward for it.

          • valorius

            Why do women do womens pushups and not men? Why dont women have to do pull ups in the Marines?

            Is it because they’re stronger?

            For that matter, why dont women have to get a high and tight haircut?

          • Bill

            It’s because they aren’t men. Apples and oranges are both still fruits; the same but different.

          • valorius

            Yet they’re going to be going up DIRECTLY AGAINST men in combat. Young, fit, strong combat trained men. Men who want to kill them by any means necessary. Men who, on average, will absolutely DESTROY these women in close in hand to hand combat.

            Seen hacksaw ridge? Could a woman do that? Not only no- but F no.

          • do you seriously not know how guns work

          • UWOTM8

            Is that actually your response?

          • I could elaborate about how combat in the 21st Century rarely involves greatswords and field plate, but I’m fairly certain based on observable evidence that it would go right over your head.

          • UWOTM8

            So you know better than the US Marine Corps, which published numerous studies on how women in combat are detrimental to unit effectiveness? Or is their experience no match for your’s?

          • Bill

            Links?

          • UWOTM8

            Just posted one 🙂

          • UWOTM8

            TFB doesn’t allow links. NPR published it with keywords: Marine Corps study: all-male units found more effective

          • valorius

            Because men are better physical instruments for the mission of closing with and destroying the enemy by any and all means necessary.

          • Men in general versus women in general, sure. Are you saying, then, that you think the average random guy on the street could put down his hamburger and go carry the tripod and ammo cans for an M2 twenty miles in the mountains of Snackbar Provence and still be able to assemble, load, and assist in firing it? Army training standards exist to weed out anyone– regardless of gender– who can’t hack the requirements of the role they’re assigned to fill. If someone can meet those requirements, who the hell cares whatever else they’ve got going on?

          • valorius

            I’ve seen women who couldn’t even lift an ammo crate into a duece and a half. Not one. I think joe average could do that.

          • And I’ve seen men who could barely lift an eyebrow. If you think the physical fitness standards are too lax– and I think they probably are– then complain about the physical fitness standards.

          • valorius

            Ive never seen a male soldier that couldnt lift an ammo crate. I’ve seen plenty that didnt want too, but never one that physically couldnt.

          • n0truscotsman

            Because the purpose of a military to begin with is to smash and blow things up.

            The male gender’s physiological attributes make them far more ideal for such endeavors, which is why males have dominated military/conflict roles since we started swinging sticks.

          • As others have pointed out several times, something like 90% of the Army is never going to deploy to a combat zone, because their roles in keeping our military machine running smoothly-ish don’t involve handling weapons beyond requals; if “smash stuff” is the only metric you’re using, it sounds like you’re arguing for an Army that’s only 10% men.

            Again, I’m not talking about men overall versus women overall, sexual dimorphism is a standard feature of all apes, I’m talking about soldiers in the United States Army who have already passed the basic training regimen and already meet or exceed the physical fitness standards for continued service. Anyone who can meet the standards of physical ability and skill proficiency to fill a given role should have the opportunity to do so; if a lot more men than women can do that, so be it, the standards are there for a reason, but nobody who can should be pre-excluded from service just because some nervous dudes are scared of cooties or whatever. Results are what matters on the battlefield; if somebody proves to be real good at working with their teammates at the job of redistributing the internal organs of the enemies of America, I want them out there lookin’ for targets, and I don’t give a damn who or what they are otherwise.

          • n0truscotsman

            “something like 90% of the Army is never going to deploy to a combat zone”

            Completely irrelevant point that does not address mine. Males dominated military hierarchies because the physical disposition of men was always conducive to close combat.

            And others’ experiences as medics and truck drivers, not to mention mechanics tells an entirely different story. There are obvious physical differences between the sexes that affect efficiency and duty performance.

            “but nobody who can should be pre-excluded from service just because some nervous dudes are scared of cooties or whatever.”

            Women are excluded for valid reasons supported by basic human physiology alone, so arguments about cooties or anything else are completely irrelevant. As commonsense and others have brought up already. Women literally dont contribute anything to combat arms MOS’es that aren’t already sufficiently filled by men.

            Its amazon mythology that refuses to die. Hollywood horse crap. Wishful thinking to pander to the cult of rad fem ™.

          • Tassiebush

            It’s been a long time since war didn’t involve interaction with civilians and in the current arenas female soldiers would be able to access half of that group which male soldiers couldn’t. That makes for better intel and hearts and minds. That’s not a capability that can be ignored.

          • CommonSense23

            The whole female engagement teams is a joke. If a Afghani women is going to talk. She is going to talk. You just have to separate her from her husband.

          • Tassiebush

            I’ll read up on it. It’d sounded good in theory…

          • UWOTM8

            So male soldiers can’t show goodwill towards female civilians? Also, how has that whole “hearts and minds” approach worked out so well everywhere we’ve tried it? Spoiler alert, they still hate our guts and just want to take our money. If you think showing these people a female face instead of a male one is enough to make them stop hating our country and what it stands for, you’ve got something new coming.

          • Tassiebush

            I think male soldiers can but for a bunch of cultural reasons there’s always more of a barrier. I’m not inclined to like or respect those cultural reasons but they’re there and they’re a barrier.
            Going on the pretty much absent capabilities to speak local languages particularly in Afghanistan I’d say the hearts and minds stuff has never had much of a chance. It doesn’t debunk the concept.

          • UWOTM8

            The cultural barrier tends to be less of an aversion to men than a fear of reprisal from the other locals. They know we’re different and that we suck at playing their games.
            If we’re talking Muslim/Arab relations, bringing female soldiers in might disgust the locals even more. Having worked with a Saudi military officer, I can tell you that he absolutely refused any contact with female tutors and personnel.
            I would refer again to Iraq and Vietnam on the hearts and minds concept. No matter what we did or how many insurgents we killed, they still sheltered the enemy and lied to our faces. That wouldn’t be reversed by a few females.

          • Tassiebush

            I think you make reasonable points but I also don’t think that the baby can be thrown out with the bathwater. I certainly don’t think it’s a stand alone game changer. I think if we’ve learned anything it’s that we don’t have a really good effective approach for counter insurgency. I often ponder what made the post ww2 outcomes so positive but many of the wars since then so unsuccessful.

          • UWOTM8

            That is true. Most of the time it has come down to us acting in hast or expecting a conventional conflict, but then being mired in an occupation and counterinsurgency in a country that dislikes our presence. Improvised, imperfect tactics are made. The results speak for themselves.

          • Tassiebush

            I just watched a documentary on our trainers (Australian) sent to Vietnam in the early stages. It looks like a quite successful early use of hearts and minds with quite effective trained forces gave way to increasing use of intimidation and increasingly heavy handed tactics which yielded ideological ground to the communists. Basically the careful work of early stages didn’t continue as things were scaled up and concept was basically walked away from.

          • CapeMorgan

            You just said that you want females in the rear of the million man murder machine. Make up your mind.

          • valorius

            Because women bring ALL KINDS of baggage with them that men do not.

        • some other joe

          How about, “Why does the military need African Americans?” or “Why does the military need homosexuals?” or “Why does the military need minority group X?”
          Political Science answer: for the same reason all Spartans were soldiers. Being willing to shed blood for your country is the purest and most visceral demonstration of citizenship. To deny any group participation as themselves is to say that group isn’t worthy of citizenship. This is why Truman officially integrated the services, allowing black soldiers to openly serve as combat troops. This is why Pat Schroeder was so het up about women in the military in the ’80’s and why the current integration is important. It’s why “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was a poor compromise. Each of these groups, prior to their integration, could be argued to not be pulling their weight and thus their right to participate in government could be challenged on a gut level.
          Case in point: Massachusetts, post Civil War, denied blacks, regardless of service in the war, the right to own arms. So, they can’t have a gun, they can’t muster with the militia (because it was BYOG). And because they didn’t muster, they weren’t on the jury rolls. And because they wouldn’t bother to fulfill their civic responsibilities in the militia or on the juries, they had no right to exercise the franchise, either. The change on language in the progression is contemporary to the scheme.
          No military service by a class leads to no vote for a class. This is the principle that denied Swiss women the right to vote until 1972. You ask why it’s important to have women in the military. It’s important for the same reason it’s important to have everyone else in; it establishes your right to citizenship. Would you like to know more?
          But Firearms, not Politics….

          • UWOTM8

            Because those other groups (blacks and gays) are still totally physically and psychologically capable of completing the job as long as they’re men.
            Nice rant, though.
            “All Spartans were soldiers”. Women definitely were not.
            All citizens must serve to vote? Actually, you’re only denied the right to vote in the US if you’re a male and not registered with Selective Service. Women don’t have to do anything.
            1/8: overly emotional and half of your response doesn’t apply.

          • some other joe

            You intentionally misread. I never said Bob has to serve if Bob wants to vote. I said there is historical examples of Bob’s class being denied military service and said denial being used to demy franchise to Bob’s class on the basis of their collective “refusal” to serve. To use your example, this is in the same manner a young man today loses the franchise because he “refused” to register with selective service as a result of every post office refusing to give him the form. This is not a question of denying individuals the franchise, but of justifying treating a class of citizens as less than another because they are barred from performing a civic duty others may be forced to perform.

          • UWOTM8

            I should have stated more clearly in my first post. I don’t care that women are in the military. I dislike them being in combat roles. Support roles, I don’t mind.

          • There are several truths floating in this thread which the lot of you are often talking past. They may all be true but the best way to work them out and resolve the apparent conflicts may not be easy to find. But maybe to make the conversation more productive, let me list them:

            1) there is an importance to permitting all adult citizens full participation. As was noted as far back as Aristotle, the definition of citizen is effectively the class of those entitled or permitted to bear arms. That is true of the RTKBA outside the military; it is true of militia, peace officers, and military.

            2) there ARE physical differences between men and women in terms of typical size, weight, muscle mass, bone density, and temperament. Some of these differences (e.g. temperament) just mean that women tend go about some processes differently than men (read, e.g. “The Iron Rose”), requiring different approaches in training, some of them mean that men and women will tend to be sorted differently by PT qualifications, and some of them (e.g. bone density, healing and recovery) mean that women will *almost always* have some disadvantage for some roles no matter how the bars will be set. Plumbing and wiring also leads to differences in discipline issues: men cannot get pregnant; women are not normally rapists.

            3) there is a direct common sense to a nation making the best use of all of its resources and structuring its force to take best advantage of its citizenry. This clearly implies *some* level of restructuring the tasks and approach to take best advantage of skills available. If THE best way to do a task involves a skillset which is only available in 0.01% of the population, that skillset becomes a bottleneck. If, instead, the task can be restructured to use a skillset available in 10% of the population, it scales better, even when less efficient. This is especially true in defensive roles which are manpower intensive and we particularly learn this in emergency response where the initial minutes of an emergency are handled by who happens to be there, not by who you would choose to be there. That leads to trying to find the suite spot of getting the most basic skills out to as many people as possible as well-distributed as possible.

            4) Standards at cross-purposes are bad in any case: if your physical standards tend to select lean and wiry men who are then injured by your standard pack, that’s a bad plan. Correcting that standard is an obvious good, and it may have opportunities for balancing some of these other issues.

            5) We have done a lousy job engaging the population to help us in many recent conflicts. Women tend to have skills which permit a different approach. Gripping hand is that 1) our raw lack of language/cultural skills/training in the relevant regions often hurts us at least as much and 2) maybe we should not be involved in OOTW to the degree that we are.

          • Oh, and a point I do not see mentioned in this thread: let’s number it 6)

            There are fundamental population-level biological precepts which affect the use of women in combat and is directly opposed to my #1: in terms of population, men are expendable and women are not.

            If you have a population of 200 people, 100 men, 100 women, the population can survive the loss of 99 men, but not of 99 women. This is a fundamental and unavoidable fact. Wars often wipe out an entire generation of young men. There is a population-level sense to keeping enough women out of the direct path of this generational-scythe as non-combatants. However, as the saying goes, women who have not swords can still die upon them, so it makes sense for women to have defensive combat skills at probably a much higher level than we often do.

            How do you resolve all these conflicting issues? I don’t know, but I think if we start by recognizing them, it leads to at least partial common-sense solutions quickly. At least, such an approach quickly eliminates approaches which clearly cannot work.

        • John

          They can understand and counter an enemy from a number of perspectives that some men wouldn’t get.

          You ARE aware there are girl suicide bombers, right?

          • UWOTM8

            1. Make PowerPoint titled: “where a female suicide bomber might hide a bomb”
            2. distribute just like all other military doctrine and manuals.
            3. Profit
            Wait, where did mass enlistment of women come in there? That’s right, it didn’t.
            Also, you ARE aware that combat usually has elements other than bomb-sniffing, right?

        • neckbone

          For sexual pleasure

          • UWOTM8

            You think anything military-issued is gonna bring you pleasure? Think again.

      • Mitch

        No, but there is a time and place (even as active duty) for making and incubating babies. I saw first hand many cases of pregnancy prior to deployment. It is a problem. It’s an issue that many are afraid to address or even discuss for fear of being labeled a sexist. I served on a fast attack submarine, and I’m thankful to this day that we never had to deal with gender politics, love triangles, pregnancy, serial harassment cases, ect… Life is hard enough being part of an actively deployed unit. Just imagine finding out that because Jolene Baker got pregnant, your division is now short staffed, and will be for the majority of the deployment. So, she stays at home to eat pizza and watch Netflix every night, while the rest of the command is sent to God-knows-where, with one less body to get the job done. If operational readiness can be annihilated so quickly and easily, maybe some drastic policy changes are in order. National security takes priority over feelings, ladies and gentlemen.

        • Bill

          “…she stays at home to eat pizza and watch Netflix every night,”

          You’ve never raised a baby, have you?

          • Mitch

            Was referring to the period leading up to birth. Regardless, please elaborate. Want to draw some parallels, to illustrate that she’s “fighting a different kind of battle”? Please…

          • valorius

            I have. Watched tons of netflix and ate lots of pizzas.

        • Tassiebush

          Pizza isn’t recommended during pregnancy.

          • valorius

            Tell that to a pregnant woman with a voracious appetite.

          • Tassiebush

            I wouldn’t dare

          • valorius

            Exactly. 😀

          • Tassiebush

            Definitely present it in a wow honey look at this article I found on unsafe foods. In fact just leave it out. Don’t risk being the messenger

          • valorius

            I made the mistake of mentioning that John Hopkins recommended a certain behavior for new borns after our daughter was born once. Then I decided it was worth digging in my heels and arguing the point when she tried to bite my head off. That was a good time, let me tell you.

        • Warren Ellis

          Can’t they simply have like free female condoms, and free condoms for males, handed out for the inevitable porking that occurs between men and women in closed spaces?

          Doesn’t that help prevent pregnancies? That or make the women go on the pill or whatever to keep them from getting pregnant during deployment?

          • noob

            or bank sperm and egg and then offer long-term or permanent contraception as an option (with a signing bonus even). Actually banking sperm and egg for later use would be a good idea in case you step on an IED and then suffer an injury that made you wish you’d banked your gametes. I think there is a charity that is offering to pay the freezing fees, but having a national bank of warfighter genes could be a good investment from the government perspective.

      • CapeMorgan

        You do realize that there are differences between men and wormen. Not every occupation in the world is suitable or convenient for every gender.

        • You do realize there are, uh, a few more jobs in the US military than “Giant Beefslab Who Kicks Camels To Death And Tears Off Terrorist Heads With His Bear Hands”, right? A legless lefty with an eyepatch can read a computer screen or file paperwork or establish a line of communication, and that sort of non-killing MOS is actually super important when you’re managing a million-strong international murder machine.

          • CommonSense23

            And that is why we have contractors who have no requirement to fight.

          • Bill

            And those contractors cost WAY more than Suzy Stereotype whose living in base housing and making mid-McDonalds’ wages. Don’t look at the contractor’s pay, look at the cost of the contracts themselves. What KBR charges for laundry service would pay for a zillion low performers out of Basic regardless of their gender.

          • Ihatedipshits

            No they do NOT cost more. Go away Bill. You know nothing.

          • CommonSense23

            You realize you only pay contractors when you need them. You don’t have to pay for years of non use. Plus the cost adding more bodies to the force cost and supporting them.

          • valorius

            Bill your inner SJW is coming out bud.

            Pregnant women and women who flat out cannot do the job even when healthy are a scourge in the modern US military- or so my relatives who are in now tell me. Even when i was in, i had an incident where a female soldier wouldn’t go pee in the woods alone, because she was afraid a bear might get her.

          • UWOTM8

            If they cost more, why do we use them?
            I know the answer, it’s because they don’t cost more….

          • “If they cost more, why do we use them?
            I know the answer, it’s because they don’t cost more….”

            You are assuming that there is only one factor in the equation. Sometimes contractors are used because they are cheaper or less financially risky. Sometimes they are used because elected officials can’t buy votes with lean budgets and neither can appointed ones buy favors with thrift. Sometimes contractors are used for bureaucratic issues because they can skirt certain requirements military personnel cannot get around. There are quite a few sides to the issue.

          • Klaus Von Schmitto

            Maybe if more infantrymen had bear hands the situation wouldn’t be so dire.

          • …Right? The guys with actual Bear Arms should be in the professional mangler roles, not doing paperwork that could be handled by someone who isn’t built to ursine proportions.

          • CapeMorgan

            So only males are allowed in the front lines and eligible to die or suffer wounds. Rear area postings are reserved for females. That is not exactly “equality”. The US military is not a million strong international murder machine…that is your teacher talking dearie. Your indoctrination cadre would be proud.

          • valorius

            The US military has absolutely nothing to do with equality. It’s not a sewing circle, it is a force organized and trained for one purpose- inflicting megadeath on the enemies of this nation.

          • valorius

            Something like 3% of the force is Infantry.

          • Uniform223

            In the military…
            If it’s not used to kill it either supports or indirectly is used or associated with killing.

          • B-Sabre

            Bear hands is a reason for medical discharge right there.

          • It unfortunately is; one of my wife’s aunts got a medical discharge for being overweight, not because she was fat but because she grew up on a farm and is built like a deuce-and-a-half. She can crush soup cans the way most people crush soda cans.

        • n0truscotsman

          Thats not only an opinion, but scientific *fact*.

      • valorius

        If you WANT to serve, then you serve. You don’t get knocked up when you find out your unit is about to be deployed to Afdirtistan.

      • n0truscotsman

        “Do you think the right answer is for a woman to put off starting a family until retirement?”

        Pretty much, yes.

    • Bill

      How many are fat guys with shin splints?

      • YOU LEAVE KEYMOD OUT OF THIS, YOU HORRIBLE PERSON

      • valorius

        When i was in, fatties got chaptered if they couldn’t lose the weight.

    • Non-zero. 😉

    • Ranger Rick

      A good number are female “orthopedic” injuries. Women’s feet and knees can’t handle the load of military gear or the exertion required of prolonged field duty.

  • Pete Sheppard

    Orthopedic injuries are why there won’t be many women actually serving in line units. :/

  • FT_Ward

    Welcome to the AVF. The trajectory for the military is older, more female, less healthy and with more contractors, And all with higher HR costs. More “SOF” to make up for lack of capability of the conventional ground combat forces. It’ll work now but will fall apart if it enters a medium sized war against a second rate enemy.

  • Rjcz

    Realistically, the answer is a combination of reduced load and superior physical training. PRT is a miss, primarily due to a convoluted program and a bad rollout compounded with it already being out of date and too rigid about how exercises are performed failing to account for different frames that’s that Soldiers have (long femurs and short torso make for increased strain in the lower back without additional training considerations, for example). Throw a lack of training with external load on top of that and you have a recipie for orthopedic injury.

    The combat load could use significant reduction as well. Contrary to what seems to be believed, the average Soldier is not 6’2″ and 225lbs, nor are they really allowed to be. The Army’s composition standards tend to call for light, lean Soldiers with the goal of having them move quickly with lots of endurance. That’s doesn’t mesh with 117lbs of equipment. For that you need a man that is carrying a bit more mass along with very strong connective tissues supporting his frame. You’ll have to sacrifice that 11 minute two mile run on the APFT in favor of being able to to carry the combat load for a long time, and for having the strength and power to sprint wearing PPE with a weapon and 210+ rounds.

    Bureaucrats who neither do PT nor wear the equipment are calling the shots.

    • Dougscamo

      “While not as sexy as a new fighter jet or aircraft carrier, more
      resources should be allocated towards the objective of reducing a
      soldier’s load. Doing so will directly impact battlefield performance. A
      fighter jet cannot seize and hold terrain, but then neither can
      infantrymen who are so overburdened that they can’t maneuver effectively
      on the battlefield.” Major James King

      • Peter Nissen

        How come – through – every time there’s an item that’s been redesigned and lightened, the military comes along and throws another thing onto the load citing that the other items been lightened – eh! Put it another way – if a solider “can” carry 117lbs and if something is reduced in weight – current thought is to add any toy to the mix and bring the weight back up to the current norm.

        • Dougscamo

          Major King argues that the TOTAL LOAD must be lightened…

    • FT_Ward

      How do the Ghurkas manage?

      • Gus Butts

        They have a true warrior mindset and are incredibly in shape.

      • M1911

        They don’t carry a 100lb load.

        • FT_Ward

          The British Army let’s some of it’s units not wear body armor or carry machine guns, AT weapons and ruck sacks? Are you sure?

      • John

        They get sent into combat with a uniform, a beret and a knife.

        Any extra equipment must be “acquired”. through “on-site procurement”.

        • FT_Ward

          Good joke.

      • valorius

        They grow up with a totally different mental makeup and can do things that would leave a westerner a shriveled up mess on their psychiatrists couch.

      • RealitiCzech

        If you spent your entire life running up and down mountains in thin air, you’re probably starting with better muscular and bone development than the average couch potato.
        I expect they have plenty of physical issues from overloading, we just hear less of them since they aren’t ‘Murican.

    • valorius

      I was one of those light, lean soldiers. 4 years in the infantry about wrecked my knees for life.

      Though when i was in, max on the 2 mile run was 11:55 (my best was a 12:08). Nowadays i believe it is significantly eased, like all standards have been, to allow for females to serve in combat roles.

      BTW: The army switching back to 7.62mm battle rifles sure aint gonna help the situation any.

      • Smedley54

        Four years as a Marine wrecked my back and hip for life, but that was clumsiness on my part. So how about some agility training along with improved conditioning? Knowing how everyone just loves PT.

      • neckbone

        Being a cooks assistant and feeding the men wore ya out I guess.

        • valorius

          I think i might’ve packed a cooks assistant in my ruck at one point.

          • “I think i might’ve packed a cooks assistant in my ruck at one point.”

            They do come in handy when you get where you are going.

          • valorius

            LMAO, that they do. A hot meal in the field is a very, very nice treat.

    • LilWolfy

      The rear SAPI plate’s abrupt cut-off is one of the leading causes of injury to soldiers, inclluding in the units that actuallyy have standards. Riding trucks on ancient roads in CENTCOM for multiple deployments has wrecked untold numbers of physically-fit soldiers, especially in SF.

      Nano tech is the only thing I can think of, besides eliminating PPE, that will help drop these medical injuries, as well as cultivating a leadership climate where people learn about anatomy and physiology, versus doing stupid exercises. SF’s combat conditioning program would be great, but hundreds of thousands of turds would float to the top, so can’t do that.

  • 22winmag

    “Firearms not military staffing issues”

    • Nashvone

      To be fair, I read this article instead of another article about another Wilson Combat pistol that I have no desire to own.

      • Hoplopfheil

        The “new” Wilson Combat pistol, I think you mean.

      • KestrelBike

        hahaha exactly.

  • Mitch

    To everyone ready to jump down cod’s throat for his pregnancy comment- please include a brief summary of your military experience. I personally have no patience for those whof want to give their two cents on what our military should be doing if you’ve never served.

    • Herp

      I agree on internal issues but I think we’d have a pretty serious conflict of interest if the military weren’t subject to civil authority.

      • Mitch

        Civil oversite is essential, lest we become a police state. That being said, we are talking about an internal issue.

    • Zapp Brannigan

      Can people comment on pregnancy if they’ve never been pregnant?

      I personally have no patience for those who have no patience.

    • Bill

      No thanks, I’ve watched this issue for 30 plus years in law enforcement, where the women do EXACTLY the same duties as the men, and manage to do them just as well or just as poorly as any given male. No one complains anymore because their body armor takes a couple extra curves or that they get gunbelts that accommodate their hips. After the first couple months of getting preggers they go into comms or PR, go to foal, take their FMLA time and are back on the road. Inconvenient to the agency? Yes. So is Wally Weightlifter who has his first coronary at 40 or Mikey Marathon who gets time on the beach for knocking up a dispatcher or taking a female Explorer out for drinks.

      • FT_Ward

        You’re comparing an event which will bring good wishes from the chain of command to medical and disciplinary problems? Your examples aren’t intentional. Pregnancy is supposed to be.

        The police and army aren’t the same. The police aren’t sent overseas for year long tours. The army can’t cover personnel shortfalls with OT. The police don’t expect to lose people regularly to enemy action.

        Recruiting people who will likely intentionally be out of action for a year or more several times at the front end of their career makes no military sense.

  • FT_Ward

    Whenever discussing manning with the military, journalists should inquire as to specific standards- minimum levels required and the median levels of recruits. The army could be meeting it’s targets but have the median level of recruits fall. They might have also lowered the minimum to meet the goal.

    • Renato H M de Oliveira

      Lower the bar means FUBAR.
      Soldier overload is coming back to bite you.
      Both things must happen – better physical training AND smaller loads.
      How to manage them with current budget is the tricky part.

      • KestrelBike

        Never served, but two of the Army people I’ve met who this article made me think of (and one or two AF guys) have serious orthopedic issues from their time in. Both of them have wrecked knees/lower-backs. One of them was just an intel guy (but who trucked around a radio) and the other was infantry. The intel guy has the kind of body where any kind of prolonged activity would give him trouble, but the infantry soldier had a pretty solid body, but all his time humping in Afghanistan destroyed his joints regardless.

        I have to imagine they’re already doing this ad nauseum, but are they constantly surveying troops to find out which gear they’d rather leave behind because of the weight or they never use it, etc., to try to figure out how to lessen the carry loads? Or is the military trying to do too much with too few troops to the point that missions are dependent on strapping down available bodies with gear to accomplish every possible goal?

        It really sucks when it seems that anyone in ground combat is destined to have an arthritic middle age+.

        • Renato H M de Oliveira

          “but are they constantly surveying troops to find out which gear they’d rather leave behind because of the weight or they never use it, etc., to try to figure out how to lessen the carry loads?”

          That would be the smart path.

          Or is the military trying to do too much with too few troops to the point that missions are dependent on strapping down available bodies with gear to accomplish every possible goal?

          Bingo

          It really sucks when it seems that anyone in ground combat is destined to have an arthritic middle age+.

          That is really sad, and shouldn’t be the way things are done.

        • FT_Ward

          It’s not likely possible.

          ” Spc X was shot dead and wasn’t wearing body armor.” “Oh in A Co, it’s optional” said the CO has he was turning in his gear for the last time.
          “OK everyone stow half your ammo…we probably won’t need it”. PS Bring packs.
          “Smith, Jones and Brown lose the optics….you guys don’t aim anyway”.

          You could lighten the loads but when something bad happens..and it will…the leaders will be hung out to dry.

        • Phil Hsueh

          Ideally the brass would be surveying the troops and asking them what they and/or what could be improved on but (sadly) that seems to rarely happen. At best, they’ll poll the senior enlisted, the Sgts Major and the like, the ones that aren’t in the field constantly and haven’t been for a long time. Or they’ll poll brigade and higher level officers, ones who don’t regularly go into the field and/or are too afraid to give an honest answer for fear of how it would affect their career. Then there’s times where the brass does poll all the right people but simply ignores the feedback given to them; case in point, when the Air Force was developing their ABU uniform they sent out samples for testing and asked for feedback. Some of the people who were testing them were part the Air Force’s Special Operations community, PJs and the like, when they gave their feedback the Air Force brass chose to ignore everything single thing they suggested and came out with a uniform that was completely unsuited for usage outside of an office environment or a hangar.

  • Paveway

    IE give us more money.

    Over 500k active personnel, and they can keep more than 30% of 32 combat brigades (ea ~4-5k men) at readiness? WTF?

    Screw that noise, Army manage you personnel better.

  • Brad

    Either the military gets more money, partially to get better and lighter equipment to cut down on “orthopedic” type injuries or reintroduce the draft and give the military a bigger pool of bodies to use.
    Most here will pooh-pooh the draft idea, mostly the ones that have never served, so get your checkbook out.
    Manpower or money, pick one.

    • FT_Ward

      How do you know the money would go to the areas you want? Why not another couple boomers or a new bomber? Maybe it’s how DOD spends the money it already gets that’s the problem.

      • Brad

        Fine, cut the DoD budget by 50% across the board and start the draft again. Low pay, lousy housing, no services on base, old worn out equipment will win the next war for us, not even mentioning the bad attitude from all the new snowflake draftees. EVERYONE gets to embrace the suck.
        Problem solved.

    • Bill

      I think a no-deferal (sp?) draft would be a capital idea, even if it fed into non-military public service jobs like policing, community service, public health or the old CCC.

  • How much more healthy and effective do you think the US Army might be if they spent their money on payroll and training instead of lining the pockets of politically-connected defense contractors?

  • Dave Lange

    Last I checked, the #1 cause of lost duty time injuries (i.e., profiles) was basketball. A lot of that is short term (sprains, etc), but a not insignificant number is significant down time (torn ACL/MCL being a big one).

    I do notice that nobody asked the question of how many of those long duration non-deployable profiles are due to pregnancy.

    • UWOTM8

      Lol careful, somebody else in the comments did and there’s an absolute melee over it now.

      • Eric H

        That’s why it’s easier to just block morons like him than continue arguing in a roundabout fashion.

        • UWOTM8

          So you’d rather have an echo chamber? TFB may be for guns, but it’s not your safe space.

          • Eric H

            If you have someone unwilling to listen to what you have to say and can’t accept that your point of view has merit, it’s sometimes better to move on and/or block them.

          • UWOTM8

            But does that ever apply to you?

          • Eric H

            I try to give people enough time to explain their points of views, especially if they can make some cogent arguments based on provable facts and without insults or continued spouting of wrong information even after presented with new information.

          • UWOTM8

            haha that definitely exists in this thread

  • Ed

    This has nothing to do with firearms. As for the numbers have to say Army try to open standards for recruiting and end the social experiments Obama forced on them. Get more men involved and spend more money on current equipment than wasting millions on stuff we don’t need now like MHS and CSASS.

  • Rick Grimes

    Robots. They need robots to carry their gear.

    Robots.

    • gunsandrockets

      Robots? How about a ROKON AWD tractor per squad? Heck, how about the wheel? Give the poor bloody infantry freaking hand carts instead of strapping ever more kit on the men like they are overloaded pack-mules.

      But yeah, as long as the trend is to pile ever more weapons, ammo, armor and gadgets on the infantryman, turning him into an exhausted slow moving pack-mule, you might as well start replacing him with a robot, let alone aiding him with a robot.

  • valorius

    Lots and lots of pregnant female troops that are undeployable too. “What, we’re being deployed to Afghanistan? Time for some unprotected sex with pvt jones.”

  • adverse4

    I thought that’s what they had trucks for. You don’t need to be in shape to ride around til something blows up under you.

  • USN

    US ARMY infantry,see to the USMC, problem solved.
    USMC haters in 3,2,1…..

    • Gary Kirk

      The army doesn’t need to look at us for the problem to be solved.. They need to look at us for the problem that needs to be avoided..

  • Don Ward

    *Reads the comments.*

    Glad I wasn’t in this comment flame war.

  • Ark

    I see this comment section has devolved into insecure manchildren whining about girls being allowed in the clubhouse…

    Pile more stuff on somebody, and they will move slower and get hurt more. Used to be, we sent guys to war carrying about 35 pounds of daily carry stuff, including a rifle. Now it’s, what, twice that? Not even including a pack? Granted, taking an AK round to the chest will no longer result in immediate death, but the fact is that trade-offs have to be made for the increased protection and combat capability. That trade-off is that American soldiers will not be as mobile as a skinny jihadi with an AK, a few magazines stuffed in his pocket, and a canteen.

    You’re probably not going to have much luck upgrading the physical human hardware that has to carry all this stuff. So, your options are: Carry less crap, have someone else carry your crap, be slower and less mobile, or continue tolerating a high injury rate.

  • Vitor Roma

    Well, then don’t wate human resources on stupid, endless wars.

  • French Balloon

    It’s probably mostly the result of the U.S. military becoming a long-term career in recent years. It used to be that the U.S. military would recruit a bunch of young guys, use them for a few years, and then they’d move on to being a civilian again. Now soldiers are staying in the army into their late 20s and 30s, which is when the body starts to break down.

    There’s also the possibility that dysgenics could be affecting our population. Advancements in medical science and socialized medicine is allowing people with genetic defects to survive into adulthood and reproduce.

    • CommonSense23

      Yeah. Its more to do with the fact that we are carrying far more than we ever did. And demanding that of young 18 or 19 year old’s is the biggest issue. My 19 year old self struggled under a 40 pound pack. 3 years later I had a additional 40 pounds on my frame. It takes time and a well thought out physical training program to get someone to the point they are at the levels they need to be. Which the average recruit doesn’t have.

      • Gary Kirk

        I screwed around for a few years before I went grunt.. Worst mistake I could’ve made.. I was an ironworker for 5 years before I enlisted, so add that abuse to what the corps put me through. And it’s not really a surprise that I fractured both my tibias, and now have to live with a lifelong pain..

        • CommonSense23

          My biggest issue is there are plenty of ways to reduce injuries in the force. It requires smart training. One of the most physically fit guys I ever met in Socom. Didn’t ruck or run more than a quarter mile at a time. Yet could throw on full kit and a 40 pound ruck and run a 1 hour 45 minute 12 mile ruck run in the desert. Smart training programs are very rare in the military.

          • MNOR

            THANK YOU!

            This is what me and several of my colleagues in S&C have been trying to get big army to understand(Norway) for YEARS.

            SOF has gotten the message, and quite a few coaches have worked with specific units to maximize training effectivness and injury prevention. They even have embedded chiro’s now.

            big army is still stuck in the 1980’s(slooowly starting to make systemic PT changes to help guys cope with the weight of their gear)

  • MNOR

    I’m gonna chime in here and back up some of @disqus_xzsXaT8a22:disqus ‘s comments.

    I’m a strenght and conditioning coach on the other side of the pond. Spent some time at UNI, and have ate, breathe and lived this stuff trough my 5 years in the fitness industry, and an ungodly amount of hours reading, taking courses/certifications from the worlds foremost names in the field og S&C.

    A modern day grunt is carrying 60% og his bodyweight in kit at any given time during a deployment, workup to a deployment and atleast several times a week for several hours at the time whilst in garrison/training rotations.
    The human body isn’t built to cope with years of this. which is why orthopedic injuries have skyrocketed in the whole of NATO during GWOT. Here in norway where niche-communities in the armed forces are TINY this is a major problem. The army’s JTAC’s had 25% of their guys out with knee- or back inuries at any given time, due to the excessive loads they carried over great distances. In a gym environment we can program tonnage, put in rest-days, increase or decrease duration/total workload as needed for the individual athlete. In a military setting we simply cannot tailor the load or total tonnage moved for the individual with any degree of effectivness.

    Now those of you who are white knighting in here. are you really going to sit there and claim that a petite female, can shoulder what amounts to 75% of her total BW, everyday, all day for the duration of a deployment with a line infantry-unit, when there is a shitload of guys in the shape of their life that cannot shoulder 60% without sustaining injuries?

    I can freely admit that I’ve met some chicks that would give me a run for my money in the overall fitness category, I’ve also seen the very same chicks working the vehicles as tank/IFV commanders, gunners and drivers in mechanized infantry.
    Why? cause’ they know they arent likely to fireman-carry a guy that weighs 250+ lbs WITHOUT gear out of harms way stompin’ away with ground pounders and pipe hitters. In a leopard 2A4, this isnt an issue.

    “Know your role and limitations” as one of the most intelligent FEMALE officers I have ever had the pleasure of working with ,said, when discussing the political push to put women in infantry/recce roles hit us over here a few years back.

    Females in the infantry, no. Females running armor? no problem.

    • Gary Kirk

      I know some females that’d argue with you.. But to them I say, “pass the same PFT”..

      • CommonSense23

        Except this attitude of pass the same PFT doesn’t work. This is the major issue people don’t seem to grasp. I can go to the cross fit games and the vast majority of those chicks can put up numbers that will rival the lower 10 percent of Socom shooters. The issue is that can’t outperform those shooters after two weeks on a average combat deployment. Female performance drops off significantly compared to males in a high out put, low rest and recovery environment.

        • MNOR

          crossfit-games*snort*
          no problems with the trainingsystem in general, just certain aspects of it, and certain personality types you’ll find there:

          Ironically it’s the chicks you’d find there who are the single most likely candidates to claim that they’d could cut it, and that they themselves are “warriors”(a term crossfitters seem to like).

          “I did the Mike Murphy(WoD routine) in a platecarrier, so I’m just as “hardcore” as a SEAL, fitter than a seal even”.
          (yes, I’ve actually heard this asinine argument from a crossfitter, in the precense of two navy SOF’ers no less.)

          but I digress…

  • Kurt Ingalls

    ….stop with all the excuses…..the military is the ruling class’s social engineering project…..no amount of PT or “work load” changes are going to cure anything…..I was a grunt, 0311, USMC…..I pulled some bullshit about being “hurt”, My platoon Sgt. had a hole dug and if there were problems he would offer to climb in the “hole’ with you…..I passed on that, and my knee all of the sudden didn’t hurt anymore, kapish??!! 🙂

  • Tom Currie

    Despite all the NONSENSE in the comments section about physical fitness issues the simple fact is that only a trivial number of soldiers are counted as non-deployable for physical fitness and those are just the ones pending discharge. Physical Fitness is not even any noticeable part of the “non-deployable” problem.

    I did notice in the quotes in the article that people are mixing “non-deployable” units and personnel — which are totally different numbers and concepts. An entire Brigade Combat Team can be “non-deployable” for many reasons – including the fact that the BCT just returned from deployment, shortages of key MOS or shortages in specific slots, too many newly assigned personnel, etc. Meanwhile individuals can be non-deployable for many reasons – few of which are permanent, some last months, some a few weeks or even days. The “permanently” non-deployable soldiers are NOT the problem that this made it sound. Those include soldiers retained on active duty with a medical profile after a medical board. Almost all are “wounded warriors” – having these experienced soldiers filling slots in CONUS frees up manpower that can be deployed.

    From the numbers stated and knowing how data is collected I strongly suspect that they are counting the entire TTHS account as non-deployable. TTHS is Trainees, Transients, Holdees, and Students. They are not deployable in their current status, but most could be deployed in 30 days or less simply by reassigning them to a deployable unit.

  • Hem90

    PA’s who give you more than “stretches,” and naproxen would be a good start…

  • noob

    huh. So after a presidential pardon and being released, Manning is still coming up in Congressional testimony as a “critical” problem for the US Army.

  • Isa Akhbar

    Army load-out weight has been ridiculously high for many years, and it gets worse as time passes, apparently. No amount of conditioning is going to alleviate having to basically carry another human being’s weight on your back and knees for hours on end. Sure, review the PT programs for relevance and currency, but that’s just not going to make up for grossly overloading the average ground-pounder. Back in the old days, half the weight of today’s load would be considered excessive and detrimental to agility.

  • Eric Frey

    honestly, if a majority of the problems is orthopedic, might do some good to look into improving their boots.

  • Uniform223

    After reading the comments here, I knew the “debate” of the sexes would eventually erupt. So here is my take and opinion on this can of worms that should have never been forced on the military in the first place.

    Having been in the Army I have no problem with women in the military in general. I do however have a problem when people (who know nothing or have no experience on the subject) try to push their social experiment/justice male bovine excrement into a organization that was developed to fight and defend. I have a problem when these very same people say that women should be allowed in dedicated combat roles (infantry, special forces, armored cav, etc).

    1. Physically speaking, men and women ARE NOT equal (you can ask any physician or doctor). Many here have already noted the differences. These physical differences can mean the world of differences. No reason to get into it even more.

    2. Culture and mentallity is different and much harsher then other roles/jobs/occupation/specialty in the military. Combat is hard and so the culture within that community greatly frowns upon weakness of any kind that might effect the overall fighting capability of the organization. If people are complaining about “fat shaming”, stay away from infantry. I remember missing the company standard (not the apft standard) by 8 seconds. That whole day I was “fat shamed”.
    >you don’t need them fries fatty
    >holy f**k! Did the room just get smaller or did Specialist **** just walk in
    >is down the hall too far for you?
    And many more colorful ways to call me fat.
    Not just that, the deployments. Being in those combat MOS you’re expected to live in really sh**ty conditions. Few people remember the rush to Baghdad. Soldiers and Marines didn’t bath for nearly a year. Old worn out underwear went out the figurative and literal window. A toilet was either a hole in the ground or a 50gallon barrel cut in half (better have mogas and a book of matches ready). Clean socks and foot powder lasts for only so long.

    3. Something I have never heard or read someone bring up in this “debate” is something called AQ. No I’m not talking about Al Qeada. I’m talking about something called “aggressive qualities”. Men in general during high stress lethal situations often respond with equal or disproportionate amounts of aggression. In combat, aggression is a quality that is greatly needed. Aggression crushes the instinct to flee or submit.

    Are they allowing women into combat roles because it’s something that is the norm or are they forcing the military to “re-write” the standards for the exception?

  • flyr

    The truly deployable are being ground down mentally and physically by multiple deployment and the marginally deployable ranks increased through political correctness.

    The big push should be to broaden the pool of durable deployable troops with political correctness taking a distant back seat. Troops returning from deployment should not find all the good opportunities taken by non deployables

    I’m old enough to remember when the pull up bars were removed from the chow lines because some soldiers were intimidated.