August 15, 2007: The U.S.
Department of Defense is cracking down on troops, especially female ones, that
get plastic surgery without permission from their commanding officer. This is a
new problem, and it's all about money. The all-volunteer military in the United
States has to pay people competitive (with civilian jobs) wages. So the troops
have more money, and plastic surgery has become cheaper. But this stuff, in
most cases, is considered "elective" (voluntary) and the troops pay for it
themselves. This permission rule is, or usually has been, ignored. Until
recently. But now more troops are getting breast augmentation, nose jobs or
even tummy tucks. Troops concerned about more rigorously enforced weight rules,
are getting liposuction. The problem is, the troops sometimes have longer
recuperation times than anticipated, and are not available for duty. Other
troops get their surgery from unqualified practitioners, who botch the job,
with the patient ending up in a military hospital, at military expense. So now
everyone is being told to go through the approval drill, or get punished if
In a few cases, the surgery
will not be allowed because it would interfere with the troop doing their job.
But in most cases, the military just wants to make sure the patient is using a
competent surgeon for the work, and the commanding officer knows when the
patient might not be available for duty because of recuperation.