Last year, the Army unveiled the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) as a way to better connect fitness with combat readiness for all Soldiers. It is currently being field tested at military installations and units.
The 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, 525th Military Intelligence Brigade field tested the ACFT. The training, led by the ACFT mobile training team from Fort Jackson, South Carolina, instructed level-three certified Soldiers in order for them to train the unit on the proper form, technique, scoring and evaluation of the six-event test.
Beginning October 2020, all Soldiers will be required to take the new test.
As of now, field testing allows the Army to refine the test with initial plans for up to 40,000 Soldiers from all three components to see it.
“Now the current test, I would argue, there are many folks that find it easy to do the maximum standard,” said Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commander of the Army’s Center of Initial Military Training. “In the new test, the Army Combat Fitness Test, it is gender and age neutral. It is harder to do, but it’s not undoable and it’s a better test of fitness for what we do, our occupation, which is Soldiers on the battlefield in combat.”
More than 2,000 Soldiers have taken the test, previously called the Army Combat Readiness Test. They also provided feedback as part of the Army Training and Doctrine Command and Forces Command pilots that began last year at several installations.
“The Army Combat Fitness Test is approximately an 80-percent predictor of performance based on our ability to test the physical components of combat fitness,” said Lt. Col. Eric Haas, commander of the 519th MI Bn., 525th MI Bde. “The current PT test is a 40-percent predictor of success.”
The Army’s current physical fitness test has three events that has to be completed in two hours: sit-ups, push-ups and a 2-mile run. The new test will feature six events that must be completed in 50 minutes: the sprint, drag and carry; strength deadlift; standing power throw; hand release push-up; leg tuck and a 2-mile run. The maximum score a Soldier could possibly receive is 600 points under the ACFT versus 300 points under the current physical fitness test.
“The goal of the Army Combat Fitness Test is to get Soldiers out of their comfort zone,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Harold Sampson, senior enlisted advisor for the 519th MI Bn., 525th MI Bde.
After the first year, the entire active-duty Army, Army Reserve and National Guard units will be involved in a diagnostic phase to provide more data on whether adjustments are needed, either to equipment, space or grading standards.
Final adjustments to the test are expected to be made no later than Oct. 1, 2020.
“This Army Combat Fitness Test is intense,” said Capt. Aaron Lopez, logistics officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 519th MI Bn., 525th MI Bde. “It is far more challenging than our current physical fitness test, but with proper training, standards can be met.”
The 525th MI Bde. and Expeditionary Force conduct multi-discipline intelligence operations in support of corps-level echelons and below, as well as provide downward reinforcing capabilities to the division, brigade combat teams and other formations. The brigade and battalion headquarters are designed to receive, integrate, employ and sustain intelligence enterprise capabilities in support of corps, division and joint task force commanders.