The U.S. Army is beginning implementation of its new physical fitness test of record, the Army Combat Fitness Test, with two not-for-record tests scheduled to take place over this fiscal year.
The new test’s objectives are to improve Soldier and unit readiness, transform the Army’s fitness culture, reduce injuries and enhance mental stamina, officials said.
The ACFT features six events, double the number from the Army Physical Fitness Test: the three-repetition maximum deadlift, standing power throw, arm extension pushup, sprint-drag-carry, leg tuck and two-mile run.
Soldiers will be expected to complete these six events in 51 to 54 minutes.
Col. Gary Law, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Directorate of Training and Doctrine, recently traveled to Fort Eustis, Virginia, to participate in and learn the proper training techniques for the ACFT.
He said all Soldiers, regardless of age, gender and Military Occupational Specialty, will initially be held to the same standard, with exceptions for those on waivers. However, satisfactory scores will eventually be determined differently depending on MOS.
Law also said that while some MOSs have a higher probability of seeing combat, every Soldier should be ready.
“What is a Soldier going to be required to do when they deploy, or they’re on the battlefield?” he asked rhetorically when explaining the rationale for the new fitness standards.
“(Theoretically, anybody could be) required to evac a vehicle, evac a casualty, move somebody from point A to point B, or return fire,” he said. “(On) a 21st-century battlefield, everybody could be put in that situation, not just infantry and armor.”
According to the Army website, the character of war is changing, as are the physical demands of Soldiers. The APFT assesses endurance, whereas the ACFT incorporates more components of fitness, such as muscular strength, flexibility and balance.
The three-repetition deadlift and sprint-drag-carry exercises directly translate to tasks Soldiers may face in a non-training environment, such as being able to extract casualties, according to the website.
Cindie McCaulley, lead recreation aide at Davidson Fitness Center, confirmed that the facility has already acquired some of the equipment needed for the upcoming test.
ACFT is slated to become the official standard by October 2020.
For more information, visit https://www.army.mil/acft/.