Soldiers have a new order: Shape up, or get out.
The Army, trying to trim its size by more than 200,000, this week revised the rules on staying in uniform for soldiers who do not stay in shape or keep their weight under control.The new rules, which also tighten the circumstances under which drug or alcohol use or abuse will result in being kicked out of the Army, are expected to be put into effect by the end of September.
The Pentagon is trying to shrink overall manpower by about 500,000 by the mid-1990s, and the Army, which in March had 740,000 soldiers in uniform, is aiming for a force of about 530,000. The new rules, officials said, would help in trimming the force.
Under the new policy, when soldiers are warned they must lose weight, they will be barred from re-enlisting, but the bar will be reviewed three months later and might be lifted. If satisfactory progress has not been made three months later - six months from the re-enlistment bar - separation proceedings will begin, even if an enlistment is not up.
The old policy specified that a bar to re-enlistment would be reviewed at six months and separation proceedings would not begin until a second six months had passed, unless the re-enlistment bar had already been lifted.
Those who flunk two physical fitness tests, without a medical reason for flunking, will be barred from re-enlisting or separation proceedings will be started by their commander. Under the old policy, soliders "might have been separated for repeatedly failing and displaying no significant or continuing progress."