The US Navy may carry out a pilot program to offer plant-based protein options at forward operating bases for consumption by members of the Navy. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) introduced the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes a provision to establish such a program in at least two Navy forward operating bases for three years. It was passed by the House on 14th July 2022 but not yet by the Senate.
Potential bases that may fit the criteria (where animal-based protein options may be costly to obtain or store) could be the following: The Joint Region Marianas, Guam; Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean; and U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo, Japan. Troops at bases participating in the pilot would still have access to animal products and the plant-based options would only be an additional offering.
After the three years of the pilot, it will be assessed whether to roll out the initiative, based on the consumption rate of plant-based protein options by sailors at bases in the pilot program, the effectiveness to increase vegan meat offerings at other Navy bases, and a comparative analysis of the costs to buy, store and serve the plant-based protein versus those for animal meat. Although the percentage of vegans in the military is probably lower than in the civilian population, there are reasons to believe that the plant-based options offered will not be rejected by the troops. A survey from Mercy for Animals found that 81% of the 226 soldiers surveyed wanted more access to plant-based foods, including Ready to Eat vegan meals, even though only 3.5% of respondents said they were vegan. Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, has also taken steps to add vegan options at military chow halls, as has the Coast Guard Training Centre Yorktown, Virginia.