Professional Soldier Athlete: The Cornerstone of Strategic Landpower’s Human Dimension

  • Colonel Deydre S. Teyhen

Although technology has been able to advance warfare, the cornerstone of Landpower’s historical and future success hinges around the human dimension. Physical and mental resilience are fundamental and often-unarticulated assumptions required to achieve national interests through Landpower. Although the military has struggled with negative impacts of poor sleep, activity, and nutrition throughout history, the current costs to readiness, recruitment, retention, and health require a comprehensive strategic plan to ensure the military is able to meet future security needs of our nation. The purposes of this review are to 1) outline the strategic importance of sleep, activity, and nutrition for both the military and nation’s youth from a readiness and health perspective and 2) provide recommendations to enhance readiness and resilience of the future military force. This review incorporates perspectives from military leaders and historical data with a specific emphasis on interwar eras. The recommendations include a whole of government approach, cultural and system changes, military recruitment strategies, leveraging environmental and social networks, military recruitment, and squad level programs.