As soon as October 2019, the Army will begin rolling out its new Army Combat Fitness Test, used to determine soldiers' readiness for service. Although the new test won't be the official Army physical test until 2020, the Army has provided solid resources for those preparing to take the test.
What is the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT)?
As opposed to the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), the Army Combat Fitness Test evaluates a soldier's readiness for combat, not just their physical prowess. According to the official ACFT website, Army officials decided to update the fitness test because soldiers “must possess significant physical capacity in the following components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, power, speed, agility, cardio endurance, balance, flexibility, coordination and reaction time.”
In simpler terms, this means that a soldier's combat readiness is based on more than just strength. The name change comes because the new test specifically evaluates combat readiness, not just readiness for general service.
What does the ACFT cover?
The ACFT is split into six events: the 3-repetition maximum deadlift (MDL), the standing power throw (SPT), the hand-release push-up (HRP), the sprint-drag-carry (SDC), the leg tuck (LTK), and the two-mile run (2MR). For more information on these specific events, what they cover, and what they measure, check out the official ACFT website.
What changes from the APFT to the ACFT?
Instead of focusing purely on the physical aspects of fitness, the ACFT includes new events that test for things like endurance, speed, agility, and reaction time. The ACFT covers six events instead of the APFT's three, and according to some of the battalions involved in testing, it's a much more difficult test. This doesn't mean that the new test is impossible – it just requires more training and preparation.
Why did the Army decide to update the test?
During an analysis called the Baseline Soldier Physical Readiness Requirements Study, Army researchers worked with U.S. soldiers and military fitness leaders from around the world to determine a baseline for combat readiness. During this study, the Army realized that the old test (the APFT) had about a 40% accuracy for determining a soldier's combat performance, necessitating a new exam. After extensive research and testing, Army officials have determined that the new test (the ACFT) has about 80% accuracy – quite the improvement!
My role in the Army isn't combat-centric. Do I still need to take the test?
Yes. All Army soldiers will be required to take the ACFT regularly as part of their eligibility for service.
When do I need to take the ACFT?
The rules of repetition have not been officially decided yet, but they likely will not change with the new test. Like the APFT, passing the new test will be a requirement for graduating from Boot Camp, and active duty soldiers will take the ACFT at least twice in every calendar year. Depending on your term of service, your commander can require you to take the test more often. If you're not sure what impact the new test will have on your eligibility, contact your commanding officers to find out.
At Patriots Law Group, we understand the demands of military service and the impact they can have. While you're preparing for the ACFT or other factors of Army service, know that we're always prepared to assist you and your family with all your legal needs. We now your service, we share your values.
DISCLAIMER: The information above is for general informational purposes only. No attorney-client relationship is intended or created by this information. Each individual situation is different and therefore a formal in-person consultation is necessary before any specific advice may be relied upon as appropriate and accurate for a given situation. Please call Patriots Law Group at 301-952-9000 to set up a consultation if you wish to obtain specific legal advice you may rely upon. We serve clients anywhere in the world, with in-person consultations available at our Suitland, MD office — right next to Andrews Air Force Base — for clients in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.