Troop Support commander discusses future of military feeding, nutrition with industry partners

By Alex Siemiatkowski Public Affairs

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Warfighters can’t get the food they need to accomplish their mission without the support of the food industry, Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support’s commander said during a meeting Oct. 20 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Army Brig. Gen. Charles Hamilton was a keynote speaker for the fall 2015 Research and Development Associates for Military Food and Packing Systems Inc. meeting. He credited R&DA members for being at his side during combat deployments to help solve complex food support problems.

“We are partners; I can’t do what I do in supporting the services and combat commanders if I don’t have you to support them,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton also spoke about the importance of providing nutritious food to keep warfighters healthy and the future of military feeding.

Subsistence supply chain employees also held presentations and workshops during the four-day meeting to discuss how to better serve the warfighter. Topics included new policies and procedures affecting the National Allowance Pricing Agreement and Manufacturer's Pricing Agreements, as well as the future of rations and food service technology.

Steve Moody, director of combat feeding at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, said that the food industry and other partners always want to be ready to meet the needs of the warfighters.

“R&DA has been around for a long time, and it really is a bunch of people working together to try to solve problems,” Moody said. “That is very unique. I don’t know if you realize how unique that is within the military setting, but we really have a great thing here.”

The importance of nutrition and how to better feed warfighters in the future were emphasized in many of the speakers’ presentations.

Hamilton briefly touched on the tactical human optimization, rapid rehabilitation and reconditioning program. The pilot program is a combined holistic approach to improve mental and physical performance of the Army Special Operations Forces at Fort Bragg, North Carolina through training and nutrition.

Hamilton believes that five to 10 years from now, all military dining facilities will use the same nutrition standards that result from the pilot program.

Moody said that Natick adjusts their products based on their tracking of what service members eat.

“They (industry) are looking at the connection between diet and health, and that translates into the warfighter,” said Moody. “People are looking at food and eating differently. We have to be able to adjust to that.”

The general ended his presentation by posing a question to R&DA members to make them think about the future of warfighter feeding.

 “Our soldiers will drive past five dining facilities, drive off the installation, go buy whatever they are going to buy, and drive back onto the installation in their car and have a few seconds before their next formation,” said Hamilton. “Think about the millennial, how they eat, how they think.”