The Army Combat Fitness Test went into initial operating capability this fall, with a pilot program that will see 63 battalions of all types conduct practice rounds of the six-event program and report back to leadership about how it goes.
According to the roll-out plan, once the pilot is finished ― no later than Oct. 1, 2019 ― the Army can begin giving the Army Combat Fitness Test for the record, though they have until Oct. 1, 2020, to finalize testing regulations and standards.
“We need to look at that ‘band of excellence,’ where we kind of want soldiers to land, but we need them there in every event,” Whitfield East, a Center for Initial Military Training research physiologist, told Army Times in October. “So, what we’ve seen so far is we have individuals who do very well at aerobic events and very well at strength and power events ― we need soldiers to do well in all events.”
Senior leaders are anticipating that few soldiers will be able to ace the test, and that a new definition of “PT stud” will come with it.
“You go through this, the first iteration, and you start to realize that 80-80-80 is a really good score,” East said.
To help soldiers prepare, the Army launched an ACFT website in December, with step-by-step instructions for each of the six events, video demonstrations and suggested gym moves to help train for them.
The test is much more difficult than the current Army Physical Fitness Test, CIMT’s command physical therapist told Army Times, but with some preparation, it will be doable.
“If it was going to be too difficult, we wouldn’t be able to do it,” Lt. Col. David Feltwell said.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.