WASHINGTON, DC -- The Army is planning to update its physical fitness test (APFT) for the first time in 30 years, and early indications suggest the new test could include more functional fitness aspects, similar to those included in the Navy’s Operational Fitness and Fueling Series program.
The Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) is reportedly working on a more combat-focused physical training doctrine, which would be rolled out no earlier than 2011 as part of a multi-phase effort, the Army Times reports. An Army spokeswoman told the Times that a new test probably would not be rolled out until late winter or early spring.
Last year, when Deputy Commanding General Mark Hertling took command of Initial Military Training, he told the Army Times that he intended to re-evaluate the APFT, as well as basic training, which already is being updated.
Currently, soldiers take the APFT twice a year and receive scores for the number of sit-ups and push-ups they can do in two minutes as well as for a timed two-mile run.
“The PT assessment right now—sit-ups, push-ups and running for two miles—that isn’t a real assessment of what soldiers will be doing in theater,” 1st Lt. Anthony L. Baiocco, a company executive officer with the 1-24 Engineer Battalion, Fort Jackson, SC, told the Army Times. “The basic principle is ‘train as you fight, fight as you train,’ but PT-ing alone won’t affect our ability to handle the rigors of the combat environment.”
Officials with the Army’s Physical Fitness School acknowledge that improvements could be made to the APFT, and suggest it will be reformatted to include more functional training aspects.
“That’s kind of a flaw with the system right now because the test is driving everything,” Frank Palkoska, director of the U.S. Army Physical Fitness School at Fort Jackson, SC, told the Army Times. “We primarily train for the assessment. That’s the future. We have to align the assessment with the tasks that soldiers have to perform so that the commander has a better tool in preparation and planning of their unit programs.”