In a report by Fox News, the US Army wants to create physical fitness tests that accurately represent what soldiers might expect in combat situations. An update to the APFT (Army physical fitness test) has been a long time coming.
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said he is waiting for a recommendation that would mold APFT’s to meet requirements of military duties performed in infantry, cavalry, armor and others. “I expect that the in the next several months Training and Doctrine Command will come forward with a recommendation,” Odierno said. “This is maybe how I see it. I think there might still be a general PT test similar to [the current] pushups, sit-ups, two-mile run. But then there will be a functional test per by MOS that really focuses on what strengths should need to be in a certain MOS.”
Odierno commented that when he first became chief, a recommendation for a new APFT was submitted to him, but he found it to be “inadequate”.
His next step was to direct training officials to begin scrutinizing qualifications for every MOS [Military Occupational Specialty]. Odierno claims that the data received from this will “help us to understand physiologically when we go to war, what are the requirements that we have to have for somebody to be able to do their job under stressful conditions.”
The Army is also assessing the standards for female soldiers regarding the levels they have to meet to serve in combat-arms units. The most noteworthy part of this is that female soldiers are now being allowed to attend ranger school for the first time in history. Male students currently operate at a pass level of 50%, and this addition will help assess how females do in this grueling course. “We are just going to kind of let the statistics speak for themselves,” he said. “The main thing that I am focused on is that the standards will remain the same.”
After analyzing the data, senior officials will be faced with the decision of keeping ranger school open to female soldiers or not. “We are going to take a look at the data, and we will move forward one way or another. There are no preconceived notions of what the outcome will be.”