The guidance is designed to maximize the extent to which soldiers can practice taking the new test by allowing those on permanent profiles to take a modified version with as few as one event from the six-event ACFT.
However, a 3-event minimum has previously been floated as the standard for when the ACFT becomes the Army’s test of record, so it behooves soldiers to participate in the test to the best of their abilities if they want to be prepared for full implementation.
Army Medical Command’s headquarters issued a memo with guidance to medical providers on how they should go about updating soldiers’ permanent profiles as ACFT testing begins, according to Col. James D. Grady, director of healthcare delivery for the Army’s Office of the Surgeon General.
“This document provides clinical profiling officers guidance on how to utilize the current physical profiling system to address ACFT concerns during the transition phase,” Grady said in a statement to Army Times.
All soldiers with a permanent profile will participate in the new fitness test beginning in October, but with modifications that will be determined through profiling officers, according to the document. Profiling officers include primary care physicians, battalion physician assistants or equivalent medical professionals in accordance with Army regulations.
“Soldiers on permanent profile who are unable to participate in the 2-mile run aerobic event may participate in an alternate aerobic event,” the memo reads. “The alternate aerobic events are the 5,000-meter row, the 15,000-meter bike, or the 1,000-meter swim.”
“There will be no walk alternate aerobic event,” the memo adds.
The Center for Initial Military Training previously said that it was looking to implement an alternative ACFT that included at a minimum: the 3-repetition maximum deadlift, the sprint-drag-carry and one of the aerobic events.
Permanent profiles will be reviewed during fiscal 2020 prior to a soldier’s initial scheduled ACFT.
When determining profiles, the memo states that medical providers must first determine the current medical condition and associated limitations when trying to conduct the new fitness test.
Then, with the soldier, the medical provider will determine which ACFT events they can perform and which would aggravate the medical condition, according to the memo.
The ACFT reached initial operating capacity this October. At that time, the test standards were officially released, and can be viewed here.
In order to max out the gender-neutral, six-event test, a soldier would need to lift 340 pounds on the deadlift, hit 12.5 meters on the standing power throw, perform 60 hand-release push-ups, make a time of 1:33 minutes on the sprint-drag-carry, perform 20 leg tucks on a pull-up bar and run two miles in 13:30 minutes.
The test is just for practice this year — unless you’re arriving to basic combat training beginning Oct. 1.
All new officers and enlisted soldiers coming into the Army will be training for and required to pass the ACFT before they graduate and report to the operational force, Maj. Gen. Lonnie G. Hibbard, commander of the Center for Initial Military Training, told Army times in September.
Starting in October 2020, roughly one year from now, the ACFT will become the Army fitness test of record and the interim medical guidance here will likely no longer be relevant.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter who has covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.