Proposed Army Combat Fitness Test Standards

For decades, morning PT was specifically designed to prepare you to take the APFT, but it had very little to do with preparing you physically for combat; that’s what field exercises were for. If you just wanted to go to the gym to get stronger, you had to be careful that the additional training did not affect your PT score negatively, or it might mean you won’t get promoted. But it doesn’t seem that will be the case anymore.

Army-wide it seems everyone is getting excited about the new PT test. Finally, there won’t be anymore sit-ups on the test, and Soldiers can focus on doing real PT that isn’t specifically geared toward passing the PT test. According to the Army’s Center for Initial Military Training (CIMT), the new test is about “holistic fitness,” and this weekend we received some pretty exciting news about the upcoming trial run.

The ArmyTimes called it a leak, but it seems more likely to be just a regular communication that didn’t necessarily call for a press release. However, I did a quick search through the CIMT website and did not find anything, so maybe it really was released by an inside source. In either case, the Army felt free to comment on the proposed testing standards.

What I find interesting is the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) will not only be gender-neutral but will also be divided by physical demand. The results of the field test will determine if the physical demand rating will be divided by mission or by job, but it seems evident that combat arms Soldiers will be required to meet a higher standard than support elements.

I’m a little saddened that we are looking at a two-year transition period. I think that Army cannot implement the new test fast enough. The APFT was recognized as being out-dated in the mid-nineties, but we are just now getting around to doing something about it. There were many attempts to adjust the APFT to make it a better assessment tool, but a three-event test based primarily on speed, not actual aerobic fitness, is just too limited to present an accurate picture of combat readiness to the commander.