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Marines Change Weight Standards to Reflect Modern Times

female-marines

Marines, especially female Marines, will be allowed to be heavier than before to accomodate new realities.   Dan Lamothe for WaPo (“Why the Marines decided to allow heavier women (and men in some cases) to serve“):

Female Marines will be allowed to weigh five to seven pounds more than before for each inch of their height, according to new guidelines published by the service. A 5-foot-6 woman, for example, was previously allowed to weigh up to 155 pounds, but can now be 161. A 5-foot-9 woman was allowed to be up to 169 pounds, but can now be 176.

The changes were among those outlined by the service’s top officer, Gen. Robert B. Neller, in a message released Friday. Neller also called for an overhaul of the service’s combat fitness and physical fitness tests, annual requirements that determine who is allowed to stay in the Marine Corps.

Neller made his decision after getting the results of what he called a “comprehensive review of physical fitness and body composition standards,” he said in his newly released message.

“We will monitor the effects of these adjustments for two years and then adjust if required to ensure our standards continue to contribute to the effectiveness of our force and enhance our ability to respond when our nation calls,” he said.

[…]

The Marines also will ease body-fat requirements for Marines who are considered out of standards, so long as they can still post high scores on their fitness tests, Neller decided. That addresses a long-held frustration among those who didn’t fit existing standards because of their muscular builds.

Maj. Gen. James W. Lukeman, the commanding general of Marine Corps Training and Education Command, said in a statement that the new testing plan raises the bar for physical fitness for all Marines.

“Marines today are stronger, faster and fitter than ever and these changes reflect that,” he said. “Bigger and stronger often means heavier, so tying performance on the PFT and CFT to changes to the Body Composition Program are improvements that we think the Marines will appreciate. In the end, it’s all about improving the readiness and combat effectiveness of our Corps, and the physical fitness of every Marine contributes to that.”

These changes are long overdue. Lukeman is right: Marines, especially women Marines, are working out more than ever and simply getting heavier. These new standards reflect that reality.  And tying the weight standards to performance on physical fitness tests has been an obvious move for decades.

For those worried about heavy Marines who didn’t get that way in the gym, there’s a caveat.  As noted in the MARADMIN announcing the change (which goes into effect 1 January 2017), “all Marines are still subject to the requirements of the Military Appearance Program.”  That program, announced in an order dated 8 August 2008, starts with the premise that “Every Marine must comply with established body composition standards and present a suitable military appearance,
regardless of age, grade, gender or duty assignment.”  The order goes into great detail as to what that means and how commanders are to go about ensuring that the standards are met.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Mrs.jenks says:

    lowering the standards already. that was fast.

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  2. SKI says:

    @Mrs.jenks: Apparently someone has a reading comprehension problem. They are adjusting the standards to take into account that current marines, both male and female, are working out more and stronger with more muscle mass – which weighs more.

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  3. xsommer says:

    Mrs.Jenks did not lack in reading comprehension, she simply is not mislead by the whitewash. Check out the comments from Marines to a similar story in the Marine Corps Times: ( http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/2016/07/01/11-things-marines-need-know-corps-new-fitness-rules/86582012/ ) We who served and seek to see the Marine Corps continue to uphold our reputation as fierce unrelenting warriors take issue with those who want to turn it into a participation award giving politically correct bunch of incompetent “soldiers”.

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  4. SKI says:

    @xsommer: That is a lot of word salad that seems to cover more than a bit of misogyny.

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  5. xsommer says:

    @SKI: Funny how when a assertion is not easily refuted the next tactic is to impugn the source. Far to often what is desired by most people who claim to desire equality is in reality a grasp for advantage. When faced with real equality including the negative responsibilities those same people no longer are as supportive of equality. http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/women-draft-poll-shows-dont-favor-registration

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  6. SKI says:

    @xsommer:
    What assertion did you actually make? The sum totral of your post was an invitation to read comments on an article and the following crap:

    We who served and seek to see the Marine Corps continue to uphold our reputation as fierce unrelenting warriors take issue with those who want to turn it into a participation award giving politically correct bunch of incompetent “soldiers”.

    How is any of that asserting that the standards, (which btw were noted in your linked article to be more rigorous with respect to the physical fitness testing than previously) aren’t, as Dr. Joyner stated addressing the reality that “Marines, especially women Marines, are working out more than ever and simply getting heavier”?

    All I see is misogynistic bullcrap with a word-salad of “participation award”, “politically correct” and “bunch of incompetent ‘soldiers'”. You got nothing except your hate and your bigotry.

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  7. xsommer says:

    @SKI: What you see is what you choose to see because your vision is clouded by your disrespect for those who grant your freedom.

    Your disrespect for the service of the members of the military is evident by your willingness to lower the performance standards; which ends up putting the people who risk their lives to provide your freedom in further risk, simply to further your political agenda.

    You foolishly quote an Army officer about what is best for the USMC in spite of the overwhelming lack of support from current and former Marines who actually have a desire to protect not just the Marine Corps institution but the lives and bodies of the Marines who serve.

    It is readily apparent that neither of you care about anything except rubber stamping the liberal/progressive agenda.

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  8. Dazedandconfused says:

    FWIW, I’d have spent a lot more time in the weight room and a lot less time on the track if these standards had existed. Not sure if that would have been good. Porters, such as Sherpas i.e., do not look a heck of a lot like Aaaahhhnold.

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c6/27/a6/c627a6ec81bd71b5e0eeea405b6ce598.jpg

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  9. michael reynolds says:

    @xsommer:

    1) No organization of any type has ever, since the dawn of time, welcomed change.

    2) If you could go back in time to 1948 you’d see the same outrage of integrating the armed forces.

    3) The conservatism of troops rises in direct proportion to how long they’ve been out. When I talk to current soldiers or marines, somehow they don’t seem nearly as concerned.

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  10. michael reynolds says:

    @Dazedandconfused:

    The he-man thing is mostly nonsense.

    1) The most decorated American soldier of WW2 was 5’5″ tall and weighed 110 pounds – pretty close to the average American woman today.

    2) Japanese? Tiny little people, especially in 1943. Somehow they managed to put up a fight against much larger Americans. Vietnamese ditto. Koreans. . . Filipinos. . . Yeah, not a Schwarzenegger in the bunch.

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  11. Joe USMC says:

    @xsommer:
    Former Infantry Marine here, let me chime in:
    The science of physical fitness has evolved so much since Marine Corps standards were established. People now are stronger and fitter than ever. From my personal experiences, there have been so many frustrated Marines in my unit who were in incredible shape, but could not pass the Ancient, Archaic, Blast from the Past standards the Marine Corps still used because they were TOO in shape. Why punish those individuals? What will that achieve? The real issue is there is a certain demographic of the population who are SCARED of any change. You ask them about any subject and today is never as good as days gone by. Sorry, they are wrong. Change isn’t always a step backward, it’s a step forward.

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  12. COLONEL SKI says:

    DO THEY CUT ANY HUSSES FOR GALS WITH BOOB OR BUTT IMPLANTS?

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  13. COLONEL SKI says:

    WHEN OUR CORPS DESPERATELY DRAFTED IN 68 AFTER TET, THEY WERE HAPPY WITH WARM BODIES FOR CANNON FODDER. NO FAILED FITNESS TEST WOULD KEEP YOU FROM DEPLOYING TO THE NAM…. NOW IN PEACETIME, OUR GENERALS ARE STINKING HYPOCRITES; BUT OLD MAN NELLER IS COMING ROUND!

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  14. Needful Things says:

    Nice smoke and mirrors on this one.

    Coming from a 5’10”, 200 lb former Marine (15 years since discharge), I never passed body weight standards, however because I had a muscular build I always passed the body composition test and of course had high PFT scores. Once I aced those two, I was NEVER asked to lose weight.

    My point is, the standards were ALREADY in place for those that didn’t make the weight. This is simply a lowering of standards, plain and simple. Congratulations to the kinder and gentler Marine Corps.

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  15. James Joyner says:

    @xsommer:

    You foolishly quote an Army officer about what is best for the USMC in spite of the overwhelming lack of support from current and former Marines who actually have a desire to protect not just the Marine Corps institution but the lives and bodies of the Marines who serve.

    I’m a former Army officer who teaches Marine officers and who’s quoting the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the commanding general of Marine Corps Training and Education Command. Is it your contention that they don’t have the best interest of the Corps in mind?

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  16. Dazedandconfused says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Lotsa tradeoffs. It’s best to be small an quick in a gun fight, and when going uphill, but there is a place for someone who can pack an 81mm, plate and all in a pinch. Big and strong is handy sometimes. I struggled mightily, having Samoan ancestry….and would have definitely welcomed this at the time.

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