Army Designs New PT Test for Combat Tasks

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Washington Report

Army senior leaders have approved a new strenuous fitness test designed to better prepare soldiers for combat tasks, reduce injuries and save money. The six-event readiness assessment, called the Army Combat Fitness Test, is intended to replace the current three-event Army Physical Fitness Test, which has been around since 1980, according to an Army press release.

Beginning October 2020, all soldiers will be required to take the new gender- and age-neutral test. Field testing set to begin this October will allow the Army to refine the test, with initial plans for up to 40,000 soldiers from all three components to see it.

"The Army Combat Fitness Test will ignite a generational, cultural change in Army fitness and become a cornerstone of individual soldier-combat readiness," said Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commander of the Army's Center of Initial Military Training. "It will reduce attrition and it will reduce musculoskeletal injuries and actually save, in the long run, the Army a heck of a lot of money."

At least six years of research went into the test's development as researchers looked at what soldiers must do fitness-wise for combat.

Roughly 2,000 soldiers have already taken the test, previously called the Army Combat Readiness Test. They also provided feedback as part of the Army Training and Doctrine Command and Forces Command pilots that began last year at several installations.

"The current PT test is only a 40 percent predictor of success for performing in combat and executing warrior tasks and battle drills," Frost said. "This test is approximately an 80 percent predictor of performing based on our ability to test the physical components of combat fitness."

While the ACFT keeps the two-mile run as its final event, it introduces five others to provide a broad measurement of a soldier's physical fitness. The events are completed in order and can take anywhere from 45 to 55 minutes to finish.

The events include strength deadlift, standing-power throw, hand-release pushups, sprint/drag/carry, leg tuck and the two-mile run.