The U.S. Army has announced that it will no longer judge the fitness levels of personnel differently based on age, but rather on varying job demands.
A new Army Combat Fitness Test will replace the current Army Physical Fitness Test effective October 2020. Whereas the APFT does not require older soldiers to perform as well as their younger counterparts, the ACFT will introduce a scoring scale based on standards a solider will need to survive in combat.
"The bottom line is combat does not discriminate, bullets coming at you don't discriminate, the enemy coming at you does not discriminate ... by height, by gender, by age, and, quite frankly, by what uniform you are wearing," Maj. Gen. Malcom Frost told military.com. "If you are a battalion O-5 or a brigade O-6 commander or command sergeant major that has been selected for the privilege to command or serve in a nominative position in a battalion or brigade in the United States Army, you must lead soldiers in combat and as such you must pass the Army Combat Fitness Test for whatever standard is designated."
Six physical events will make up the ACFT. Beginning this October, the Army will select 60 battalions across the active Army, National Guard and Reserve to participate in one-year field test of the new ACFT to establish how the test will be scored, make adjustments to events as needed and consider the policies required for implementation, according to Frost, who added that the ACFT will be based on several studies that have looked at the 113 warrior tasks and battle drills — common tasks every soldier needs to be able to perform to survive on the battlefield — as well as soldier feedback from the past 15 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
An example of a task a soldier must be able to complete in combat is the evacuation of a casualty from a combat vehicle. Said Army Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey, "That person inside that vehicle doesn't care whether you are a woman, a man, 50, 60, 18 or 24 — he or she needs to come out if it's on fire."