Background and Introduction to the Topic
IN PARTS II THROUGH V THE PAPERS from workshop appear in the order in which they were presented. The chapters have undergone limited editorial change, have not been reviewed by an outside group, and represent the views of the individual authors. Selected questions and the speakers' responses are included to provide the flavor of the workshop discussion.
Part II includes six chapters based on the introductory presentations by current and former Army scientists and personnel. Chapter 3 presents the purpose of the workshop and report from the perspective of one of the lead scientists who has extensively studied soldier intake patters, with emphasis on the individual, the food, and the eating situation or environment. The majority of the chapter further provides an overview of the remainder of the report and how each author approaches the problem of underconsumption of military operational rations.
To frame the problem of ration underconsumption, the context of the field feeding system is described in Chapter 4. Operation Desert Storm raised questions regarding the acceptability of the current Army Field Feed System (AFFS) and its ability to move rations to the forward line of troops. To remedy this field scenario, the U.S. Army Quartermaster Center and School (QMC&S) conducted field trials to test the Army Field Feeding System-Future (AFFS-F). The AFFS-F will add new equipment and trained personnel to military field feeding. One of the most noteworthy improvements is the addition of the Kitchen Company Level Field Feeding-Enhanced (KCLFF-E) equipment, which moves forward with the company mess, and can be used to heat food
while it is being served and keep perishable foods fresh. In addition, cooks are again moving forward in the field, and each brigade service area will have a brigade foodservice warrant officer to coordinate the food plans with the demands of the field situation.
Commanders' perceptions and attitudes about field feeding are the subject of Chapter 5. Survey results from the Army War College show the varying levels of nutrition knowledge and education among commanders. Many report that the training scenario dictates eating decisions and that their nutrition knowledge is limited. The survey highlights how the relationship between nutrition and performance is not well understood among military officers.
The section continues by explaining the military operational ration system and its continuing development and improvement in Chapters 6 and 7. From the historical perspective of developing and testing rations, the author of Chapter 6 concludes that the Military Recommended Dietary Allowances (MRDAs) are the appropriate criteria for nutritional adequacy of intake in the field. Continued ration evaluation will indicate if nutrition criteria are met. Chapter 7 delineates the numerous constraints to ration development and describes the five military operational rations (Meal, Ready-to-Eat [MRE]; A, B, and T Rations; and Unitized Group Ration [UGR]) in detail. The authors conclude that a self-heating group meal ration system will be an important component of any future field feeding system.
In the final two chapters, data from ration studies conducted in the field are summarized. Using field tests conducted by the Military Nutrition Division at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Chapter 8 shows that, in general, the lower energy intakes of the field do not meet the higher energy requirements, resulting in variable weight loss during military operations. Chapter 9 reviews the research data on improvements to the MRE and T Ration in terms of ration intake and its acceptability to soldiers. The author closes by observing that, in general, a change in at least 15 percent of a ration's items is enough to produce an increase in energy intake and an improvement in the perception of food quality.