The US Army will be implementing a new Occupational Physical Assessment Test on January 1st for all recruits and soldiers looking to enter more physically demanding work, such as Infantry and Armor.
Soldiers wanting to enter the more demanding branches will have to pass a four-part-test to enter certain Military Occupational Specialties (MOS), which will assist in the gender-neutralization of combat specialties and help recruiters determine which jobs new enlistees would be best suited for.
The OPAT evaluation consists of a medicine-ball throw, a deadlift, a standing long jump and an interval run. Unlike other Army Physical tests, the OPAT does not have different scoring scales for age and gender- all are required to pass the single requirement to see if they would be a good fit for the MOS of their choice.
Another interesting difference is the scoring system, which is split into four color-coded physical demand categories: heavy (black), significant (gray), moderate (gold) and unprepared (white). More demanding occupations (including about a dozen combat arms jobs) fall into the black category- scoring in this category opens the door for all MOSs. At a minimum, all US Army personnel and recruits must meet the gold category.
While some jobs -such as mechanics or helicopter repairers- fall into the gray category, the overwhelming majority of Army roles fall into the gold category.
According to the Army Times, the OPAT will only be required if a soldier wants to switch over to a more demanding MOS. While the US Army is looking to create a combat readiness test, the OPAT (or aspects of it) may serves as a temporary gap measure until a proper combat test could be devised.
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