From NBC News:
The pushups and situps of the 1980s will be replaced by deadlifts, a medicine-ball throw and other drills better suited to prepare soldiers for modern warfare.
Dec. 3, 2021, 12:43 PM PST
By Jean Lee
The U.S. Army is planning to replace its antiquated fitness exam with a more rigorous model designed to better prepare soldiers for the demands of modern warfare.
The new exam has been tested for two years and is planned to be officially rolled out in March 2022. It replaces the 40-year-old Army Physical Fitness Test, which tested soldiers on their ability to do two minutes of situps, two minutes of pushups and a 2-mile run.
The two-hour Army Combat Fitness Test 3.0 (ACFT) evaluates movements that better parallel the demands of on-the-ground combat, including rescuing injured personnel and loading equipment, according to Lt. Col. Gabriel Ramirez, an Army spokesman. …
It consists of six exercises: a medicine-ball throw, hand-release pushups, deadlifts, a 2-mile run, sprint-drag-carry exercises, and leg tucks or planks.
Going from 3 to 6 exercises sounds reasonable. The old test didn’t require any equipment, which was likely helpful in 1942 when adding huge numbers of soldiers, but the modern Pentagon can afford various kinds of exercise equipment.
The fundamental problem, however, is that the better you make the fitness test to test abilities needed on the battlefield, like carrying a wounded comrade or lifting depleted-uranium ammunition, the worse that women soldiers will do.
… The latest version, ACFT 3.0, is the most recent data-informed modification. The most prominent change, compared to the 2.0 version, includes the plank as a substitute for the leg tuck to address the higher fail rates among women with the leg tuck. The plank and the leg tuck both evaluate core strength, army officials said, and would be considered the same in terms of scoring.
However, more than half of women are still failing the new exam, according to Army Forces Command data published on military.com. Women in the military have expressed concern that the Army would prioritize physical strength over leadership qualities
After all, what does physical strength have to do with leadership qualities in combat?
or technical skills necessary in a high-tech age and might unintentionally marginalize women in the Army and underuse people, in general, with useful skills outside of fitness, The Washington Post reported last year.
“I think most folks, most individuals, with proper training can pass the test,” Ramirez said.
Another possible change to address the higher fail rate among women would be the use of a performance-tier program that would take gender into account, Army officials said.
“There will continue to be discussion,” Ramirez said. “I think the big thing for us is that we need to get data to make informed decisions.”