Soldiers changing their MOS and new Army recruits will need to prove their fitness as it relates to more physically demanding jobs. The Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) is a four-part, age- and gender-neutral test administered by “by any command responsible for soldier accessions, including Recruiting Command and U.S. Army Cadet Command after the soldier swears in but before he or she begins training.”

The “battalion- or brigade-level career counselor will administer the OPAT” for those soldiers wishing to reclassify into a different MOS.

The OPAT was designed and implemented after 2 1/2 years of research in an effort to ensure that all soldiers are able to safely and skillfully execute their jobs and to stem attrition by ensuring the incoming soldiers are fit enough to train for their particular MOS.

The test measures the five domains of physical fitness (speed, cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular endurance, explosive power, and muscular strength) through four parts:

  • The Standing Long Jump
  • The Seated Power Through
  • The Strength Dead Lift
  • The Interval Aerobic Run
The Army just rolled out a tougher physical fitness test
(Photo: U.S. Army, Sgt. Audrey Hayes)

All MOSs are now sorted into one of three physical demand categories. Black MOSs are those with strenuous demands; Grey denotes MOSs with significant physical demands; and Gold denotes those that have moderate physical demands. Each category has it’s own thresholds for each one of the sections of the test. As with the ASVAB, recruits will be able to take the OPAT again to improve their fitness scores.

An Army-wide roll-out of the OPAT began on October 1, 2016, four months later than it’s original roll-out date. It began administering the physical test to all recruits on January 3, 2017. While the test is still fairly new, it seems to be a step that many approve of on social media: