Despite the order, though, things have hardly changed on the ground. Training continues largely as it did before. Troops say they see little being done to limit or track blast exposure. And weapons like shoulder-fired rockets that are known to deliver a shock wave well above the safety threshold are still in wide use.
The disconnect fits a pattern that has repeated for more than a decade: Top leaders talk of the importance of protecting troops’ brains, but the military fails to take practical steps to ensure safety.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Paul Scharre, a former Army Ranger and a policy expert at the Center for a New American Security who published a report in 2018, funded by the Defense Department, about the dangers of repeated blasts from firing weapons. “We’ve known for years that these weapons are dangerous. There are simple things we can do to protect people. And we’re not doing them.”
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