By Army News ServiceDecember 30, 2016
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (Army News Service) -- Uniform changes, new directives and football were among the topics that dominated headlines for the Army in 2016. Below is a list of this year's most-read articles by the Army News Service.
(Check out the stories themselves in the related links section below this article.)
1 and 2) SLEEVES CAN NOW BE ROLLED UP
The hottest topic among readers this year, with a pair of articles in the top two slots, turned out to be the Army's decision to permit Soldiers to roll up the sleeves on their combat uniforms so they can keep cool.
Army officials announced the policy change in late June, following a 10-day trial at Fort Hood, Texas, which was initiated after a specialist asked Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley during a reenlistment ceremony whether he and his fellow Soldiers could roll up their sleeves due to the hot weather. Milley and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey agreed, and an official memorandum was rolled out Army-wide a few weeks later.
3) NEW DIRECTIVE: OFFICERS MUST BE VETTED BEFORE PROMOTIONS
A new Army directive over the summer caught the attention of many readers, especially officers looking to be promoted. Updated regulations now require that officers selected for promotion be vetted for mental, physical, moral, and professional fitness and meet the standards for exemplary conduct before their names are forwarded to the Army secretary for certification.
While there has always been a vetting process, the process previously took place as officers were being considered by senior Army, Defense and congressional leadership. The new directive is meant to allow for an officer and the service save face if, for some reason, the officer must be removed from a promotion list.
4) ARMY TO ADMINISTER FOUR-PART OPAT TO RECRUITS
A new physical fitness test for placing recruits into a best-fit military occupational specialty was launched earlier this year in an effort to reduce attrition and injury rates. The Occupational Physical Assessment Test was first administered at select recruiting stations over the summer, assessing recruits' performance on a standing long jump, a seated power throw, a strength deadlift, and an interval aerobic run.
Along with the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, which ensures that a future Soldier can meet academic requirements, the test is meant to determine which particular job a recruit would perform well in. The OPAT test is expected to be administered Army-wide beginning Jan. 3.
5) ARMY ALLOWS SOLDIERS TO WEAR HEADPHONES IN GYM
The Army announced in May that small headphones or ear buds could be used at gyms on post, finally allowing Soldiers to jam out to their favorite Justin Bieber playlist while exercising in uniform. The move also permits Soldiers to wear black-colored electronic devices, like music players or cell phones, on their waistband or a black armband to hold the device, in accordance with Army Regulation 670-1.
At the time, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said the new policy came about as the result of Soldiers asking about it during a town hall meeting.
6) FIRST FEMALE WEST POINT COMMANDANT OF CADETS
Brig. Gen. Diana M. Holland shattered the glass ceiling when she became the first female commandant of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in early January. Holland, a West Point graduate herself, became the school's 76th commandant and assumed the responsibility for the military, physical, character and social development of more than 4,400 cadets.
Army Secretary Eric K. Fanning expressed confidence in Holland, saying that that the general's operational and command experiences would bring a new and diverse perspective to West Point's leadership team. Holland's previous role was deputy commanding general of support for 10th Mountain Division (Light) at Fort Drum, New York.
7) ARMY BEATS NAVY
A cold December night in Baltimore set the scene for a heated gridiron battle as Army squeaked by Navy for its first football win over its sister service in 14 years.
At the 117th annual event, known as "America's game," a pageantry of marching cadets and midshipmen joined a sellout crowd of loyal fans as all fervidly cheered on their teams. At the end of the game, cadets rushed from the bleachers onto the field to celebrate the win with players.
Next year, the Black Knights will strive to stay on the winning side as both academies bring the rivalry back to Philadelphia.
8) MILLEY: ARMY ON CUSP OF PROFOUND, FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE
The Army is set to change rapidly over the next 20 to 30 years, as organizations, doctrine and weapons adjust to the multi-domain battle concept.
Speaking at an event in October, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley painted a vivid picture of a future battlefield with technology far more advanced than that of today. To compete with the surge of information operations, unmanned aerial vehicles and other cutting-edge technology, he said, land-based forces of the future will have to be prepared to fight formidable foes not just on land, but also in the air, sea and other domains.
9) 4 MYTHS ABOUT COMBAT VEHICLES
At a November discussion, the deputy director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center outlined myths about the Army's current fleet. Stressing the need for new ground combat vehicles, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster Jr. told an audience that the Army must make clear and compelling arguments for capabilities that advanced ground combat vehicles can bring to the fight.
10) AFTER 75 YEARS, MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR ENLISTED TO BECOME OFFICERS
It was welcome news to the many enlisted Soldiers who hope to become officers when Army officials announced they were reworking the eligibility requirements for attaining a butter bar. Now, enlisted personnel up to age 33 can apply to become officers, and there is no longer a requirement to serve in the Army for six years before going to Officer Candidate School.
Editor's note: Press releases and announcements -- such as deployment and casualty announcements -- were not considered in the roll-up of major news stories for 2016. For instance, a news release from the Corps of Engineers on not approving easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota actually garnered the most views on Army.mil last year with more than 288,000 page views.