The Navy needs to address the fact that too many sailors and potential cannot meet minimal fitness standards, a former official and officer believes.
The solution would require constant attention to fitness, rather than the present system that relies too much on tape measures and not enough on getting desirable results, wrote Juan Garcia, a retired reserve captain who served as assistant Navy secretary for manpower and personnel during the Obama administration.
New technologies, such as using fitness-tracking wristbands like Fitbit, could help, Garcia wrote in an article published last month by the U.S. Naval Institute Press.
Garcia drew parallels between the young people the Navy recruits and the overall populace from where they come. Pointing out that 71 percent of all citizens between ages 17 and 24 are medically ineligible for military service, he noted that new recruits could earn $2,000 bonuses simply by passing the physical readiness test (PRT) while in boot camp.
He also noted that more than 34,000 sailors have flunked the PRT at least once as of January 2016, and that changes the Navy implemented to address the situation since then have not worked.
Using fitness monitors to constantly evaluate fitness, combined with more regular assessments of progress, could produce better results, Garcia wrote. The process could allow:
* Individual sailors to pick fitness regimens that would work best for them.
* Better arrangement of optimum workout schedules.
* Unit accountability, as commanders monitor progress.