Secretary of the Army Christine E. Wormuth released an Army Directive today laying out a timetable for implementing a new ACFT as the Army’s general physical fitness exam.
Soldier comments and independent analysis of test results were used to make changes to the ACFT.
“The adjustments to the ACFT are based on data and analysis, including a congressionally mandated independent study.” We’ll keep evaluating how we’re administering the test to make sure it’s fair and accomplishes our goal of improving the Army’s fitness culture.”
The Army’s independent review and the RAND study both expressed worry that a gender-neutral exam would not adequately measure all Soldiers’ general physical fitness levels. One example is the use of the leg tuck to test core strength.
Soldiers may have core strength that isn’t adequately tested if they lack the upper body strength required to do a leg tuck, according to RAND. The plank will now be the sole exercise used to test core strength, with scales modified depending on Army requirements and using recognized standards from sister services as a baseline.
Similar to the APFT, the updated ACFT will use age and gender normed scoring scales. The Army based the new scoring scales on roughly 630,000 ACFT performance scores, APFT historical performance rates, and other armed services’ scoring scales.
The Army will continue to evaluate performance data, and an ACFT governance council has been established to oversee the complete implementation of the new test. This structure will evaluate ACFT scores, pass rates, injuries, and environmental concerns, and communicate those findings to Army Senior Leaders, along with any recommended adjustments. In April 2023, the first full review will take place.
Army authorities feel the ACFT, unlike the APFT, which has remained virtually intact for 40 years, must be adaptive.
The governing structure, according to Grinston, will continue to promote the ACFT in order to improve the force’s physical condition.
The Army’s efforts to maintain a physically fit force capable of a wide range of operations are now supported by the six-event ACFT, which provides commanders and Soldiers with a reliable assessment of a Soldier’s physical fitness level.
Under the new arrangement, units will begin diagnostic testing on April 1. Soldiers in the Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve will begin record testing on October 1, 2022, giving them six months to train. Retention, graduation of initial military training, professional military education, and assessment reports for Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers will all be based on a passing ACFT score beginning October 1. Separation operations for Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve soldiers could commence in April 2023.
The Army has approved similar, but lengthier, schedules for Army Reserve and Army National Guard Soldiers, with most personnel policies kicking off in April 2023 and separation actions kicking off in April 2024.
While Regular Army Soldiers can be flagged for failing the ACFT starting October 1, 2022, no Regular Army Soldier will be separated simply for failing the ACFT until April 2023, according to Grinston.
Retesting periods were also extended from 90 days under the APFT to 180 days for Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve Soldiers, and 240 days for Reserve Soldiers under the ACFT, according to the regulation. The prolonged reconditioning timetables, according to Grinston, will ensure that Soldiers who are ready to put in the time and effort will be able to pass the test.
Chain Teach throughout the Force
To help inform the force on all of the test’s policies and procedures, Army Command, Army Service Component Command, and direct reporting unit command sergeants major attended a class on the changes to the ACFT.
“They’ll deliver that class to the NCOs who report to them, as well as the [command sergeants majors] for their subordinate units,” Grinston explained.
“This is a chance for commanders to get involved and understand their Soldiers’ worries and questions regarding the test,” Grinston added. “Know where they’re having trouble and devise a strategy to help them succeed.” Leaders must focus on the Soldier’s total condition rather than just physical training.”
The Army acquired and delivered over 40,000 sets of equipment, 60% of which were earmarked for Soldiers in the Army Reserve and National Guard, to guarantee that Soldiers across the Total Army have equal training opportunities.
Grinston urged Leaders to use their equipment for physical readiness training, such as drill weekends for the Reserve Component, to enable Soldiers get more comfortable with the activities prior to testing.
The ACFT website also has a lot of materials to assist Soldiers in their training, such as workout program examples and videos of exercises, many of which do not require any equipment.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.