The Best Defense

The Best Defense

Unfit for battle: America's military is growing tired, injured and overweight

By Jim Gourley Best Defense military health columnist

In 2010 the national security organization Mission: Readiness grabbed headlines with a report stating that obesity and other weight-related health conditions were the reason why nearly one-third of American youth were ineligible for military service. Titled "Too Fat to Fight," the report concluded that if American schools did not reform diet and exercise programs, the diminished pool of recruits might constitute a national security crisis. Though Mission: Readiness released a follow-up report in 2012, changes in American schools have been slow and sporadic, and the growth of obesity in Americans continues apace. During that time, the American military has had to recruit from the available population while facing other extraordinary challenges: continued operations in Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa even as new conflicts develop in Europe and the Middle East, fiscal austerity and emerging threats in west Africa and Asia.

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The Best Defense

Iraq and Syria no longer exist, but the real problem is the inability of the U.S. government to formulate strategy (4)

John Batiste is a retired Army major general who commanded the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq in 2004-05 and a brigade of the 1st Armored Division in Bosnia:

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The Best Defense

Guest war dog of the week: ‘Mike’ of Parris Island, a World War II terrier

Rebecca has run away to join the media circus over her war dog book, which is surging on Amazon. Americans may be tired of war, but they never get tired of dogs.

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The Best Defense

When the Chinese look at the US X-37B, they see the future of space-based attack

By Dean Cheng 

Best Defense bureau of Sino-space affairs

The return of the unmanned X-37B space plane last week after nearly two years in space has aroused some curiosity from space observers. It marks the completion of the third mission for the orbital test vehicle (OTV) system, the longest mission, with nearly 22 months of orbital time, and the first reuse of one of the two OTVs. Resembling a miniature space shuttle, the X-37B program has been publicly described by the U.S. Air Force as testing a variety of technologies, including "advanced guidance, navigation, and control; thermal protection systems; avionics; high temperature structures and seals; conformal reusable insulation; lightweight electromechanical flight systems; and autonomous orbital flight, reentry, and landing."

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