Army Combat Fitness Test adopted military-wide after rousing success with soldiers
By Bull Winkle
WASHINGTON — Following the lukewarm success of the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), the Defense Department has concluded that only one path is clear: adoption of the test across the U.S. military.
The ACFT includes six events designed to fairly gauge physical fitness for all soldiers, yet since kick-off in September 2020, the test has generated a mix of success and confusion not seen in the Army since the introduction of rifled muskets.
Pentagon official Thomas Berger, however, called the ACFT a more physically demanding test that reflects the Army’s high standards, despite only about 70 percent of males and 16 percent of female soldiers being able to pass.
“Those numbers would be an abject failure in any efficient organization,” said Berger. “But in the Army, that’s a big fat win.”
Berger added: “We’re used to seeing the Army bungle initiatives at the service level, such as health care, naming bases after racist traitors, and every uniform in the past 40 years.”
But the complex nature of the ACFT uniquely qualifies it for application outside the Army, according to Berger.
“The Army tried to design an impartial test, and it ended up being actually unfair and detrimental to careers,” Berger said. “That kind of one-size-sucks-for-all approach is worthy of use DOD-wide, just like cyber awareness training.”
The decision sparked confusion among the rank-and-file, however.
“Our old fitness test was fine and helped us win, or at least tie, a bunch of wars,” observed Staff Sgt. Dwight Ferguson, an Army Master Fitness Trainer. “Then the Army rat fucked it. Now they test my ability to throw a ten-pound ball over my head, backward,” he said.
“Huh? I Can’t recall ever busting that move on any of my four combat tours.”
Ferguson noted that despite the Army having more than 75,000 women in the active-duty ranks, the ACFT core test group included only 16 women.
“There was more thorough testing on what to include in MRE condiments packets,” he said.
Still, Berger believes the Pentagon’s embrace of the ACFT is consistent with a system called “failing up” that is common throughout the Department. He defended it as the same method used in promoting leaders who cultivate toxic work environments.
In fact, according to Berger, the ACFT is the most “joint” fitness test ever created.
“It punishes the Air Force for always faking their way through physical fitness. It confuses the Navy, who have never even pretended to care. And it needs so many NCOs to execute it that Marine Corps drill instructors will have a new lot in life,” he said.
Current implementation plans will exempt any personnel assigned to the Joint Staff or other DoD-level unit from ever taking the ACFT, however.