Current policy requires service members to maintain body fat levels below a key threshold: 28 percent for men and 36 percent for women. If they fail, they must undergo a "tape test" to estimate their body fat percentage.
Critics have long argued that tape test is flawed.
Tape test failures are recorded in official personnel records and can adversely affect troops' promotion prospects. Repeated failures can result in involuntary separation from the service.
Top military leaders say that while details of the policy might change, underlying fitness standards should not.
"If we do that, we have a potential liability on the battlefield," Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier this year. "The minute we lose that competitive advantage in combat because our enemies are training harder than we are, we’ll have more problems than we have right now."
Andrew Tilghman is the executive editor for Military Times. He is a former Military Times Pentagon reporter and served as a Middle East correspondent for the Stars and Stripes. Before covering the military, he worked as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle in Texas, the Albany Times Union in New York and The Associated Press in Milwaukee.