Author: John Spencer

To Understand PTSD, Send Scientists to War

It started with a thumb into my eye socket as he tried to gouge out my eye. When he bit into my ear, the adrenaline flooding my veins masked the pain; I would not even realize my ear was gone till after the fight. Twenty years ago, in that dimly lit alley in Kent, Washington, as I walked into a ring of teenage onlookers to face off, my heart was pounding so hard my chest hurt. My vision narrowed—I could only see faces—and I felt sick in my gut. I’d been in the Army for a few years and...

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To Win at War, Make America Fit Again

The incoming Trump administration has pledged to boost defense spending and rebuild the military. While this is a welcome sign, there is another more cost-effective way to increase our readiness: improve the fitness of the eligible pool of recruits the Army and other services can draw from. All the military spending in the world will not matter if our troops are physically unfit to serve. Nearly 8 percent of all military personnel are clinically overweight. That figure is up from 1.8 percent in 2001, when the war in Afghanistan kicked off. The Pentagon estimates that 71 percent of the roughly...

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