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Army Updates ACFT, Answers Questions Ahead of Rollout

Washington Report

Army officials made several tweaks to the new Army Combat Fitness Test and leaders took questions as part of an online town hall in the days leading up to Oct. 1.

The ACFT, which has previously been introduced to parts of the force via a pilot program, is now being rolled out service wide.

Units are expected to administer the test on a practice basis over the next year, before the ACFT becomes the Army’s official physical fitness test of record. In the meantime, soldiers will continue to be tested using the Army Physical Fitness Test for record.

Ahead of the rollout, Army officials released standards for the ACFT and solidified expected techniques and scoring systems. One change was replacing the hand-release pushup with arm-extension pushups.

Officials also upped the run time for a maximum score from 12:45 to 13:30 and tightened the time window for the sprint, drag and carry event from 3:35 to 3:00. The minimum two-mile run time was also shortened by seven seconds, to 21:00.

Senior enlisted Army leaders spoke about the test during an online town hall using Facebook-submitted questions. Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston, Training and Doctrine Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Guden and Sgt. Maj. Edward Mitchell of the Center for Initial Military Training answered queries regarding availability of equipment, alternate events and implementation timelines.

Guden explained that the ACFT will be implemented at all of the Training and Doctrine Command schools, including Basic Training and the Basic Officer Leader Course beginning Tuesday.

“We are doing this primarily so that after we finish this FY 20 of basically a diagnostic test for everybody in the Army for all three [components], the new soldiers that will be coming to your ranks will have experienced and tested on the ACFT, so they will have that experience,” said Guden.

According to the Army Times, active component soldiers will take two ACFTs during FY2020 as a diagnostic test. Guard and Reserve soldiers will only take it once.

Grinston answered a Guard-specific question regarding equipment distribution to the Guard and Reserve soldiers, saying “we’ve got a long way to go to figure out what is the sweet-spot and the right areas [of equipment distribution] for that.” Guden added that the current plan is to equip each battalion with 16 sets of the gear.

According to Army Times, the Army plans on purchasing $70 million worth of the ACFT sets and is aiming to have the sets in place across all of the components by May of next year.

The panel of senior enlisted leaders also discussed the three alternate events for soldiers who are on profiles and unable to complete the two mile run. According to Guden, the approved alternate events are a 1,000-meter swim, a 15,000-meter stationary bike or a 5,000-meter row — completed in 25 minutes.

“The idea of the alternate events was mostly developed with the mindset that these were not going to be a cake walk,” Guden said. “These events would be just as difficult or more difficult to complete than the actual two-mile run itself.”