WASHINGTON, DC -- In preparation for new Air Force fitness assessment standards slated to take effect July 1, the Air Force is increasing civilian employees at 60 bases throughout the country to staff newly created fitness assessment cells (FACs). The FACs were designed to reduce administrative burdens on squadrons and create consistency for fitness testing.

The Air Force is authorized to hire some 225 civilian employees for the Fitness Assessment Cells in fiscal year (FY) 2011, per the recently released United States Air Force Fiscal Year 2011 Force Structure Announcement.

Changes to the Air Force fitness program, announced last June, include biannual testing (versus annual testing), minimum established requirements within test areas and creation of the fitness assessment cells.

“We want all airmen to take fitness seriously. We intend that the days of ‘cramming’ for the annual fitness test will be replaced by an emphasis on year-round fitness,” Chief Master Sgt. Mark Long, the Air Force's chief of enlisted promotions, evaluations and fitness policy, said in a statement. “We were the only military service that did not test at least twice a year, and it’s a definite step in the right direction to change the Air Force fitness culture.”

During the fitness assessments, airmen will receive an overall fitness score based on aerobic fitness, body composition and muscular fitness levels. Aerobic fitness will be measured by a 1.5-mile timed run, body composition will be evaluated by abdominal circumference measurements, and muscular fitness will be evaluated by the number of push-ups and sit-ups completed within one minute.