The U.S. Army has been ordered to reduce its strength over seven percent. This is bad news for a lot of good soldiers who have been diagnosed with physical or mental stress problems. That's because there's a growing shortage of troops fit for combat zone duty. Currently, 15 percent of the troops cannot be sent overseas because they have medical problems that render them incapable of handling the stress of a combat zone. Until last year, this was much less of a problem, because the army could keep people in service up to twelve more months. This "stop loss" rule enabled units to go overseas with all the troops it needed to get the job done. But now, with stop loss gone and a growing number of combat troops unfit for deployment, the army is having a hard time manning combat units fit for overseas duty. One solution will probably be to medically retire many of those unfit to deploy, and recruit new troops who are more fit. The reduction in strength makes this easier to do.
New recruits present another problem. Bad diet and lack of exercise has become a major problem with American children over the last two decades. Thus the army is getting recruits who are chubbier and less fit (low bone density and iron levels) than ever before. This results in more injuries during training, and while in combat. These troops are more prone to suffer physical injuries that will make them unfit for overseas service.