PENTAGON — Sailors’ waistlines may be expanding, but their increased buoyancy is saving the Defense Department billions of dollars in life-jacket costs, according to a study released by the Navy.
The study, codenamed Project Muffin Top, following a scathing DoD report that named the Navy as its fattest service. Sources say that after the report made headlines, former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer drew steep criticism from Congress, the Secretary of Defense, and the other service secretaries who started calling him “chubby lover” and “whale whisperer” in the Pentagon locker room.
Acting Secretary Thomas Modly held a short press conference this morning to announce the study’s findings, which claimed that the DoD would save roughly $6.7 billion over the next five years. Sources say he also wanted to dispel rumors that the Navy was going to begin requiring sailors to smoke, use meth, and go “keto” to burn off the flab.
“In the past, when some skinny flight-crew nitwit got blown overboard, we had to stop operations, toss costly life jackets over the sides,” Modly told reporters. “Now, when one of our chubby little roly-polies waddles off the deck of the [USS Gerald R.] Ford, they’ll just naturally float on their fat little backs. Hell, they’re easier to spot now too. We just swing the ship around and use a crane to hoist those fat asses back on deck.”
How could the Navy spend nearly $7 billion on life jackets? For years the Coast Guard required the Navy to keep at least one operational life jacket for each sailor in the service, regardless of whether or not they are on ships, due to one of the Navy’s most longstanding and annoying traditions.
“Sailors use ship terminology to describe whatever workspace they occupy—a boat, an office building, or the truck stop bathroom stall where they give hand jobs,” Spencer said. “You hear it all the time, ‘I’m heading to the bridge to talk to the skipper,’ or, ‘He went below deck to get his bilge pumped out by a shipmate.’”
Now that the average sailor’s body fat percentage approaches that of an elephant seal, the Coast Guard has eased its decades-old requirement.
While healthcare officials argue the second and third order effects of obesity, such as diabetes, heart disease, and involuntary celibacy, outweigh its positives, DOD officials are looking to capitalize on the short-term budgetary gains.
Duffel Blog reporter Zach contributed to this article.