WASHINGTON, DC -- Right before its new fitness program standards take effect on July 1, the Air Force revised them so airmen who earn an overall score of 90 or above will only be required to take the physical fitness test once a year, instead of twice per year.

Last summer, the Air Force announced plans that require airmen to take a physical fitness test twice a year, beginning in January 2010. Implementation of the controversial standards was delayed until July 2010 to allow commanders and airmen time to be sure they were in compliance with the new Air Force Instruction.

Airmen are required to take the physical fitness test under the new standards after June 30 to qualify for the exemption.

In 2009, about one in five fitness scores were rated as “excellent,” according to Capt. Sean Brazel, the Air Force chief of officer promotions, evaluations and fitness policy.

“Factoring in these numbers, we forecast a reduction in the fitness testing workload when this new policy takes effect,” Brazel said in a statement.

The new fitness standards call for physical fitness tests to be conducted by civilian employees at fitness assessment cells (FACs).