Plans for job-specific fitness tests could reach Army Secretary John McHugh's desk this summer, and McHugh told Army Times on Wednesday what the service is doing to create and study those requirements — and what might happen to soldiers who can't meet them.
About 700 soldiers at multiple installations over two-plus years have been part of a project "to establish MOS-specific physical requirements," McHugh said during an interview with Army Times reporters and editors at the Pentagon. He offered few details or deadlines for the study, saying that a report on the fitness test would reach his office and that of Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno in late summer or early fall.
However, informal reports to McHugh from Training and Doctrine Command officials have indicated "that when we finally establish these new physical standards, we will find that there are any number of males who have been ... in a particular [military occupational specialty] who will not be able to meet the new requirements," McHugh said.
The gender divide has been a point of contention, with critics saying changes to the fitness test could be a way to lower requirements in MOSs being opened to women. McHugh said the move had "absolutely nothing to do with that."
There are no concrete plans for what would happen to soldiers found unfit to continue in their fields, but McHugh said rather than requiring immediate reclassification, the Army could design an MOS-specific physical training program to shape up underperformers.
Odierno addressed job-based fitness tests during a Jan. 6 virtual town hall meeting, saying he expects a "functional test by MOS" to exist alongside an Army-wide fitness test.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.