http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/us/31soldier.html?_r=1&th&emc=th I dunno - Basic training is definitely a lot softer than it was in the past. (I find it interesting that the USMC doesn't seem to make these same concessions to an out of shape generation. If they have I haven't heard about it). I support the idea that the old "daily dozen" didn't add a lot to a soldier's overall fitness and readiness, but long endurance runs certainly do no matter what the PC spin that is put on it- and they do it in a relatively short amount of time. There are definitely fitness programs out there that they can adopt that will drag individuals into a much higher level of fitness rapidly- for example "Cross Fit"- but it involves a lot of intense effort and the willingness to work until at least initially you literally puke.