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No, The Army Isn't Making All Its Soldiers Take The New Combat Readiness Test — Yet
After Task & Purpose published a brief report Oct. 23 on the Army’s proposed PFT replacement, the six-event “Combat Readiness Test,” we heard from some soldiers who’d heard from some other soldiers that an Army-wide CRT was already a done deal. Their command leaders were already talking about how to prepare their troops for the strenuous test.
They shared with us an undated Army manual on the test, complete with scoring scales for each of the events, and some other tantalizing details.
“All components of Soldiers will take two (2) diagnostic ACRT tests during Fiscal Year (FY) 2018,” the manual said, adding that the 12-month period would give Army personnel time to adapt to the test, which would then become a permanent fixture of Army life. “The ACRT will become [fully operational] on 1 October 2018 and will replace the APFT,” it said.
There was only one problem: That guidance is all wrong.
That’s according to Lt. Col. Jeff Pray, the public affairs officer for U.S. Army Center For Initial Military Training (IMT), which is testing the ACRT as part of a comprehensive “holistic health and fitness program” for soldiers.
Pray’s message: The ACRT is not a done deal, it’s one of several possible soldier fitness tests on the table, and Army leadership has not signed off on its implementation yet. So if you see a doc floating around that says otherwise, disregard it. The actual timeline for a possible PFT replacement is more deliberate and less certain.
In fact, Pray says, key Army leaders may not weigh in on the test until sometime next year. “We’re going to have recommendations as far as how we believe it’s going to be implemented,” he told Task & Purpose Oct. 25. “Any sort of implementation is probably going to take a couple of years or so.”
So where did this CRT manual come from, and how did soldiers get a hold of it? “That was just a forecast,” Pray says, for internal use only, so IMT’s scientists and researchers could wargame the test and its possible implementation. “We needed initial kind of guidelines to go off of,” he said. A hypothetical guidance like that helps the testing team focus “so if we do get an implementation order, we’re ready to go.”
Pray added that “it wouldn’t be smart for anyone to use this” document externally: “A lot of factors have to be worked into it.”
But the internal draft got out, as these things often do, and some soldiers who saw its language thought it was a new, all-hands gospel truth. T&P; is including a copy of that out-of-date report below, only for reference, so soldiers can recognize it if they see it in the wild:
Meanwhile, the truth — as it usually is in the military — is a little more workmanlike. Army Force Command is still testing out another potential six-event fitness exam, the Soldier Readiness Test, and IMT’s Combat Readiness Test is running alongside that right now. “We’re looking at possibly another [CRT] pilot test next year, as well,” Pray says, to “continue to refine that concept.”
An eventual Army PFT replacement “could be a mixture of what we have and what some other people are testing,” he said.
But the Army seems to have already reached a broad consensus that the existing PFT needs to be replaced with a test that more closely gauges soldiers’ physical fitness for common combat-related tasks.
In that spirit, Pray says that if soldiers want to use the outmoded guidance — and the buzz around the Combat Readiness Test — to get their fitness on, they should, by all means. “They could of course start training for the individual events,” he said. “They build the type of muscles that combat-related tasks can require.”
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.