In previous articles for ClearanceJobs, I’ve thrown rocks at the Army’s catastrophically ill-considered Army Combat Fitness Test—the planned successor to the proven and successful Army Physical Fitness Test. I will admit, however, that my arguments against it emerged strictly from experience and logic. I am a fan of the original APFT because I watched soldiers in my platoon take the challenge to raise their scores, and watched pounds melt away and recruiting poster paratroopers emerge. As for logic, the APFT essentially costs a unit ten bucks and two hours to run through an entire company of soldiers, whereas the ACFT costs… more. Tens of millions of dollars more.
But, dear reader, I was willing to admit that I might be wrong! I lost many a night of sleep wondering: is the ACFT the salvation of American freedom? The greatest thing to happen to the Army since
the black beret the blue service dress uniform the retro World War II-era pinks and greens! What if the ACFT produced one million hooah-shouting, Ironman-winning, CrossFit-teaching soldiers with the physiques of Greek gods and goddesses? What if we went to war with China and the enemy just dropped their weapons and ran the opposite direction, so intimidating were the American men and women on the front lines? What if, so musclebound and terrifying were our soldiers, that the Army stopped issuing rifles just to make it a fair fight when we went to war?
I really put myself out there by coming out so strongly against the ACFT, and, because no Army leader has ever been wrong, from General George Washington himself through to General James C. McConville, the present Army chief of staff—well, it was inevitable that I would have to eat my words.
But then last week, someone leaked the analytics slides presenting the pass/fail rate for the eleven battalions taking the ACFT. The short version: oh man was I right. The slightly longer version: the Army Combat Fitness Test is an unbridled, unparalleled, unimaginable disaster. The bottom line: the raw numbers reveal a test absurdly biased against women in uniform, but frankly, no one wearing a green uniform really comes out ahead in this thing.
WOMEN ARE BEING SET UP TO FAIL
The only thing that fails harder than the ACFT are the soldiers forced to take it.
According to the numbers, a jaw-dropping 36% of soldiers overall failed the test, with 64% passing. When you break it down by gender, 70% of men passed. But here is a number should kill and bury the ACFT evermore: 84% of women failed the test. Those numbers are so absurdly biased against women that I was afraid this was some sort of elaborate joke by Duffelblog. But I spoke with one soldier in a leadership position at an ACFT test battalion, and the soldier confirmed that the leaked numbers lined up almost exactly with those of the soldier’s battalion.
Here is why those fail numbers are so bad, male or female: you fail your physical training test, you get flagged. You aren’t going to military schools like Basic Leader Course or Airborne School. And if somehow you get there anyway, when you’re tested again you’ll be turned around and sent home. You cannot be promoted. You cannot be reclassified into another MOS. In the Guard and reserve, you cannot be transferred. You lose your tuition assistance. You can’t even reenlist!
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SOURCE: Clearance Jobs, David Brown