Outlining Strategies for Enhancing Military Physical Readiness in the 21st Century

Research Paper Title

Strategies for Enhancing Military Physical Readiness in the 21st Century.

Abstract

Military readiness is negatively impacted by the near-epidemic incidence rate of musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs).

MSIs represent a major threat to the health and fitness of our Soldiers and a risk to our Nation’s ability to project military power.

This risk is both financial (i.e. economic burden from medical, healthcare and disability costs) and personnel readiness (i.e. Soldiers medically unable to optimally perform their duties and to deploy). For example, MSIs represent:

  1. 45% of the medically not-ready, non-deployable population;
  2. 2) the major cause of medical evacuation from a combat theater; the majority resulting from physical training;
  3. 3) an annual cost of half a billion dollars for diagnosing and treating more than 1 million Soldiers with MSIs and 6 billion dollars in salary; and
  4. The major reason annual VA compensation paid for musculoskeletal disabilities is $5.5 billion (26% of total paid compensation).

It is imperative for military leaders to understand that physical-training related MSIs are largely preventable.

There is a need for a strategic paradigm shift in the military’s approach to physical readiness policies, in training and doctrine which should include institutionalising best practices and processes, and establishing stronger linkages across all military stakeholders.

Reference

Nindl, B.C. (2012) Strategies for Enhancing Military Physical Readiness in the 21st Century. Master’s Thesis. United States Army War College. Carlisle, PA: US Army War College.

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