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NEWS | May 21, 2019

Army announces alternate assessments for ACFT field testing

By U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training Staff U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training Staff

Following successful initial field testing, Army senior leaders have approved the development of alternate Army Combat Fitness Test assessments for selected Soldiers with permanent profiles that prevent full participation in the six-event test.

Although final determination of standards will not be completed until Oct. 1, 2019, the Army's lead for development and fielding of the ACFT, the Center for Initial Military Training, will soon begin evaluating alternate test events at 63 Army units.

The events selected for further testing include a 5,000-meter row, a 15,000-meter stationary bike and a 1,200-meter swim. Each event will be completed in a set time, targeted at 25 minutes or less.

If approved, Soldiers with a permanent profile will be required to successfully complete at a minimum the 3-Repetition Maximum Deadlift, the Sprint-Drag-Carry and one of the aerobic events. The alternate events measure minimum attributes Soldiers need to fight, render aid to others and decrease risk to themselves in a combat environment.

CIMT's director of research and analysis, Michael McGurk, emphasized that Soldiers with a permanent injury or condition that limits their ability to complete a full six-event ACFT may be allowed to test with a modified assessment.

"Those Soldiers with permanent profiles may also undergo a Medical Retention Board and Physical Evaluation Boards to determine fitness for further military duty," McGurk said. "Part of those reviews may be tied to their ability to pass a modified assessment. This allows commanders to deploy these Soldiers 'with risk' and determine if the risk is acceptable based on Soldiers' skills and nature of the mission."

McGurk further emphasized that Soldiers with permanent physical limitations will test on all ACFT events within the limits of their profiles.

"We are concerned with permanent profiles that prevent Soldiers from full six-event test execution, not permanent profiles such as hearing or vision," McGurk said. "For example, those permanent profile Soldiers who are incapable of running long distances, they could be allowed to complete an alternate aerobic event."

Senior leaders are stressing that while the ACFT and alternate assessment events are tough, the events will provide commanders the information they need to determine if the risks are acceptable based on a Soldier's mission.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said he is "truly excited about the significant progress" made during the testing period for the ACFT.

"I truly believe this will take us where we need to be in terms of fitness for the Army," he said. "It's clear the ACFT requires us to put more emphasis on physical training."