The United States Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) is slated to become the services official test of record starting on 1st October, 2020. The six-event physical fitness test remains roughly the same as when it was first unveiled in early 2019 but has some key changes that appear to aim to lessen the impact of less than stellar scores for soldiers taking the test.
Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grinston has stated that despite the changes being made due to COVID-19, the program will remain on track despite the setbacks caused by the virus. This year in particular troops will not need to pass the test but will still need to take it on schedule.
Sgt. Maj. Grinston said “when it’s the test of record, you have to put it into the system of record, and that’s the only requirement right now.” What Sgt. Maj. Grinston essentially means is that the army will not take any administrative actions against soldiers who fail any part of the ACFT. Administrative actions can include separation, derogatory remarks, referred evaluation reports and Order of Merit list standings. None of these things will be affected due to any failure of the ACFT 2.0.
So What Are the Changes for ACFT 2.0?
For starters, many will not take the old Army Physical Fitness Test at all. Only troops without a current passing score are required to take the test according to Sgt. Maj. Grinston. Everyone else with a current passing APFT score will only need to worry about the upcoming ACFT.
All soldiers now have the option to substitute a two-minute plank, once a soldier has attempted the 5th event – the leg tuck (video below). The remaining 5 events remain largely the same with a 3 rep max dead-lift, standing power throw, hand release push-ups, 2-mile run, and sprint, drag, carry. The plank exists purely as an interim assessment for soldiers transitioning between the APFT to the ACFT.
The stated reason for the switch from the leg tuck to the 2-minute plank is said to be because of social distancing due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Since a plank does not require much space to practice nor does it require any equipment to perform it is considered safer.
In addition to those changes, the stationary bike event dropped from 15,000 meters as standard down to 12,000-meters. The biking assessment is an alternative for soldiers for permanent profiles unable to finish the two-mile run. All that is required for all troops to pass is to meet the “gold standard” which is considered to be “moderately challenging.”
The Army considers this sufficient for all soldiers not going into more physically demanding fields where a “Grey” or “Black” scoring minimum would be more ideal. These standards apply to all soldiers regardless of age or gender.
All Photos: United States Army