A basic trainee just took the Army's new combat fitness test to school.

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Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy really doesn't want you to know how swole he is, as the former Army ranger refused to answer repeated questions from Task & Purpose about what he scored on the Army Combat Fitness Test.

"I'm not going to tell you," McCarthy said at the Military Reporters and Editors' annual conference in Arlington, Va. on Friday (Oct. 25). McCarthy said he passed the ACFT over a year ago in order to understand the experience.

"I'm a 46-year-old man that rides a desk every day and I got through it," said McCarthy, who described himself as a regular swimmer at the Pentagon pool. "It can be done, you gotta train for it and take care of your body. It's not just working out, it's eating right and sleeping. So I do well on one of those three: working out."

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After preliminary fitness test scores leaked in September, many have voiced concerns about how women would fare in the new Army Combat Fitness Test.

The scores — which accounted for 11 of the 63 battalions that the ACFT was tested on last year — showed an overall failure rate of 84% for women, and a 70% pass rate for men.

But Army leaders aren't concerned about this in the slightest.

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Changes to the Army Combat Fitness Test were announced on Friday as the service prepares to move into the second phase of implementing the new standard test.

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A competitor performs push-ups during the physical fitness event at the Minnesota Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition on April 4, 2019, at Camp Ripley, Minnesota. (Minnesota National Guard photo by Sgt. Sebastian Nemec)

Despite what you may have heard, the Army has not declared war on mustaches.

The Army W.T.F! Moments Facebook page on Monday posted a memo written by a 3rd Infantry Division company commander telling his soldiers that only the fittest among them will be allowed to sprout facial hair under their warrior nostrils.

"During my tenure at Battle Company, I have noticed a direct correlation between mustaches and a lack of physical fitness," the memo says. "In an effort to increase the physical fitness of Battle Company, mustaches will not be authorized for any soldier earning less than a 300 on the APFT [Army Physical Fitness Test]."

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After nearly two decades of grinding low-intensity conflict, the U.S. military is shifting to focus on near-peer competition — and tailoring its physical fitness requirements accordingly.

The Army is currently conducting a two-year assessment and rollout plan scheduled for 2020, with 470,205 soldiers who are currently racing to prepare and train for a dramatically different six-event Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), developed in reaction to both the demands of modern conflict and to the declining health and fitness standards of incoming recruits and soldiers. After all, overweight and physically unfit soldiers degrade readiness, take up time and resources, and burden others.

To meet this lofty goal, the Army must undertake the most significant changes to physical fitness testing since the beginning of the professionalized force in 1973 — one that, unfortunately, it is ill-equipped to tackle for a simple reason: it has no up-to-date training apparatus to support the transition. While the new standard may be important for lethality, the Army must consider innovative ways to prepare both recruits and soldiers to successfully implement this new standard — or else risk a significant impact on readiness as the military enters into strategic competition with China and Russia.

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