December 16, 2019

The ACFT and the Problems with the Military's Cult of Physical Fitness

By Emma Moore

A new hurdle for U.S. Army recruitment and retention is coming in the form of the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), scheduled to become the Army's physical test by October 2020. In the pursuit of combat readiness, the Army has increased barriers to service at the same time it promotes more targeted talent management and attempts to broaden its recruiting base. This tension shows the dissonance between remaining a force that values and emphasizes physical fitness and working to welcome a wider range of skill sets. Ultimately, such an endeavor may harm readiness.

Physical fitness is an outdated measure of readiness for the majority of Army jobs, yet the Army has doubled down on emphasizing just that. The Army should be deemphasizing fitness as the cornerstone of every soldier's identity and instead focusing on testing relevant to specific job categories. The need to broaden the recruiting pool to meet the increasingly technical realities of war runs counter to the endless pursuit of fitness as a measure of readiness.

Read the full article on Military.com.

Image credit: Kevin Fleming/U.S. Army

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