They should have everything they need in order to achieve success.
The problem, however, lies with the people that aren't actually overweight, but still do not meet weight standards.
The FM originated as a way to enforce standards across units and ensure soldiers are at "an optimum level of individual readiness" (AR 600-9, 3).
The Army program requires soldiers to meet a prescribed body fat level, indicated in the table below, dependent on gender, height, and age. If those numbers do not fall in the respective guidelines, a method called 'taping' is used to further determine body fat.
I was fortunate enough to interview an anonymous Army ROTC cadet who was repeatedly subjected to the tape test during her three years in the program. Every time I am in that room, with my shirt pulled up and the tape wrapped around my waist, my sergeant sitting in the corner, saying 'I swear it will be the last time.' But it never is."She went on to say that, "The worst part is that they know this isn't the best method.
They know I contribute so much more to this program than a number will ever be able to say.
Staff Sergeant Smith's case was an extreme one, however there are some positives that come along with doing the tape test.
When you are faced with the task of finding the body fat of 100 soldiers, it is the cheapest and easiest way. Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, the creator of the Army’s Soldier Athlete program, who also has a master’s degree in exercise physiology, said "maybe one out of 100 might have a good argument.
He said he "never felt out of fighting shape," recently finishing the San Diego Marathon with an impressive time of four hours and 22 minutes.
He made it his mission to change the Marine Corp tape test to help others in his position keep their jobs.