As the Army continues to trial its new Army Combat Fitness Test, the Center for Initial Military Training will also begin evaluating an alternate assessment for injured soldiers.
The new Army Combat Fitness Test includes six events, while the modified test would only include three, including a three-repetition dead lift, the sprint-drag-carry course and ― if they can’t complete the two-mile run ― either a 5,000-meter row, 15,000-meter bike ride or a 1,200-meter swim.
“We have to realize that there are some cases where we may choose to deploy soldiers who are not fully capable to do all the soldier tasks as the test is designed,” Michael McGurk, the director of research and analysis at CIMT, told Army Times in a Monday phone interview.
The modified test is still based on common soldier tasks that every deployable soldier needs to be evaluated on.
“These are the things that you do by nature of being a soldier, by nature of being in the Army," McGurk said, adding that while a soldier might not do each of them on every deployment, they need to be prepared to do so.
“All deployments are not the same,” he said. “Being deployed to Kuwait to support operations, or to Qatar or to the embassy in the green zone in Baghdad is different than deploying with an infantry unit up into the mountains in Afghanistan or Syria.”
Testing will begin with soldiers who meet certain criteria from the 63 battalions that are evaluating the ACFT now. Soldiers selected will have permanent injuries or other physical profiles that prevent them from completing the power throw, leg tuck and push-ups included in the standard test.
“Globally the Army is re-emphasizing that we are a ground combat force that engages in direct combat at times. And we have to have our soldiers ― all soldiers ― physically capable of doing the minimum requirements of all soldiers," McGurk said.
Last year, the Army unveiled the six essentials every soldier needs to demonstrate before being deployed:
- Soldiers have to be legally, medically and administratively ready to deploy in any mission environment.
- They must physically be able to perform in austere environments or those with harsh conditions.
- They must be able to use their assigned weapons.
- They must be able to execute their assigned warrior tasks.
- They must be able to operate wearing all personal protective gear necessary.
- They must be able to pass current fitness standards.