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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The Army is working on developing an alternate fitness test for soldiers with permanent injuries that prevent them from completing the new Army Combat Fitness Test.

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The new Army PT test is right around the corner, and every soldier with Internet access seems absolutely pumped.

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Editor’s Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.

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The mission of the U.S. Army is to fight and win the nation's wars.

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U.S. Navy

The Navy has a new message for tens of thousands of sailors who’ve struggled to work on their fitness:

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