Plump up the Volume? Navy Eases Fitness Tests to Lure Recruits

Barb Wire

The government may be tightening the military’s belt — but the Navy is loosening theirs!

Yesterday, the branch announced that it was relaxing yet another standard in order to try to boost sagging recruitment. This time, the Navy says it’s increasing the amount of body fat allowed for sailors, along with the number of times a service member can fail the “body composition” part of the fitness test. According to Vice Admiral Bill Moran, Chief of Navy Personnel, it’s time for the military to embrace a “more realistic” program.

But for people familiar with the military, the reason for these shifts is part of a much bigger problem: dwindling recruitment and retention. As many as 1,400 sailors were discharged for failing these tests last year, and based on the Pentagon’s new reports, the military can’t afford to lose anyone.

In the Army, the situation is even more dire. For the first time in six years, the branch will miss its recruiting goal — this time, by a whopping 10,000. Experts blame the 14% drop on the job market, but that’s a convenient scapegoat for the real crisis in our nation’s ranks.

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Desperate to attract more men and women, the Defense Department has lowered almost every possible standard — from education and immigration to drug and fitness criteria. What is sure to add to the military’s retreating enlistment, President Obama is advancing the next wave of his radical social policy, removing the military’s ban on transgenderism to match his move on homosexuality. For our brave men and women, who are fighting internal wars against military suicide and sexual assault, the bonds of unity and morality have been stretched to the breaking point.

And the war on religious liberty hasn’t helped matters. FRC’s talks to active duty military on a regular basis who tell him that the crackdown on Christianity across the military is “much worse” than anything the media is reporting. Dissatisfied and disrespected, thousands of soldiers say their commitment is waning. The warning signs have been there all along, but only recently have the surveys started to confirm what most long suspected: that this administration’s radical policies are having a catastrophic effect on the troops.

Only 15 percent have confidence in the leadership of their Commander-in-Chief, who seems more concerned about waging a cultural war than a war to protect our freedoms. Add the disgust over social experimentation to the flailing morale, and it spells disaster for the future of our military.

Despite what some suggest, the constant wear and tear of war isn’t the problem here; the President’s battle against the timeless traditions and standards of the military is. This isn’t what our brave young troops signed up for.

And based on enlistment numbers, it isn’t what future soldiers will sign up for either.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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