For servicemembers, maintaining military readiness is critically important to their ability to complete assigned missions and duties. Military readiness also affects the ability to be deployed to a domestic or foreign location at short notice. Ideally, servicemembers should adopt a plan early in their careers for maintaining their readiness.
The Different Forms of Military Readiness
Military readiness comes in different forms, and the standards vary between individual branches of the U.S. military. One component of military readiness is medical readiness. Servicemembers are required to complete an annual periodic health assessment (PHA). A PHA is a medical screening to ensure that servicemembers do not have any medical conditions of which the service is unaware and also guarantees that they are fit for full duty.
Servicemembers must also maintain dental readiness through annual dental exams. For instance, if someone has a dental condition such as an impacted wisdom tooth causing intense pain, that could affect his or her ability to be deployed.
Training readiness is another type of military readiness, involving essential training on an annual or bi-annual basis. Training readiness requirements vary among the different services and may include proficiency qualifications.
Much of the training may be computer-based. According to the Institute for Defense and Business, readiness metrics are typically determined by senior leaders in each service, based on the branch’s objectives. Troops undergo training and are provided with properly maintained equipment to successfully complete their training tasks.
Operational readiness is still another aspect of military readiness. For instance, military equipment must be available and properly maintained in military depots.
Both active-duty and reserve personnel should also maintain personal readiness, which can be challenging due to conflicting responsibilities involving their jobs and family lives. Ideally, servicemembers should complete various assigned readiness tasks well in advance of due dates to prevent scheduling conflicts and other challenges adversely affecting military readiness.
Maintaining Physical Fitness and Weight Standards
Physical fitness is also necessary in the military, since many military jobs are physical. Each of the branches of the military require physical fitness tests for its servicemembers, which ensures they are fit enough to handle their military responsibilities, especially during combat.
For example, the Army has the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), which uses an age and gender scoring scale to evaluate servicemembers’ physical fitness. Army members can plan on taking the ACFT several times throughout the year, and the scores are recorded twice a year.
Preparation, however, is the key to success on military physical fitness tests. Developing a comprehensive exercise regimen well in advance of these tests can help servicemembers maintain their military readiness.
The military also has weight standards that must be met by each servicemember. A servicemember’s weight is commonly evaluated twice a year, and the servicemember must be under a maximum allowable weight or able to pass a body fat composition test.
There is also the military tape test. This test calculates a servicemember’s body fat percentage by analyzing the member’s height and using a measuring tape around the hips, abdomen or neck.
Developing Your Knowledge of Health and Nutrition
To meet military fitness standards, servicemembers should develop their knowledge in regard to health and nutrition. This knowledge can be useful for creating a healthy diet and developing effective exercise routines.
One option for expanding one’s knowledge of fitness and nutrition is the University’s bachelor of science in sports and health sciences. This program involves courses in exercise science, fitness, nutrition, kinesiology, health and wellness, anatomy, and physiology, which could be helpful in maintaining and improving physical fitness.
Written By: Dr. Jarrod Sadulski