More soldiers are being dismissed because they are not meeting the U.S. Army’s fitness standards, according to an article in The Washington Post.
One of the reasons for the increase in dismissals is the Army’s orders to trim the active duty force from 570,000 to 490,000 by 2017, according to the newspaper.
From January to October of this year, the Army dismissed 1,625 soldiers for not being fit, 16 times the number of soldiers who were dismissed for the same reason in 2007, the newspaper reported.
The Post cited a study by the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center in which the number of active duty military personnel who were deemed obese more than tripled between 1998 and 2010. More than 86,000 troops—5.3 percent of the force—were diagnosed as clinically obese in 2010.
In times of war, the number of unfit soldiers who were dismissed decreased because of the need for more troops in combat. As the war in Iraq has come to a close, the Army is becoming stricter in its enforcement of its fitness standards.
The newspaper reported it did not receive data on dismissals from the Navy, Marines and Air Force. However, according to a recent report in the Air Force Times, the number of discharges of active-duty airmen who did not meet physical training standards jumped from 156 in 2007 to 1,319 so far in 2012. Demotions in the Air Force because of poor physical fitness also have increased as a result, from fewer than 100 in 2007 to 528 last year.
Last month, the Marines announced a change in the female physical fitness test in which pull-ups will replace the flexed arm hang. A transition period will begin Jan. 1 to allow commanders and individual female Marines to adjust training routines to prepare for the new requirements, which will be implemented Jan. 1, 2014.