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For Some Soldiers, New, Tougher Army Fitness Test a Jarring Wake-Up Call

September 18, 2018

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The Army’s July 9 announcement that the new six-event ACFT will become the mandatory test of record in 2020 was a jarring wake-up call for more than a million soldiers accustomed to the comfortable norm of the four-decade-old APFT’s pushups, sit-ups and two-mile run. Over the next two years, the Army has pledged to refine the new fitness standard; prepare active-duty, National Guard and Reserve units to administer the new test; and figure out what to do with soldiers who fail to meet the new standard.

“The purpose of ACFT, first and foremost, is to make sure our soldiers are ready for the rigors of combat,” Army Secretary Mark Esper told “We do have to sort through all the policies that come with a physical fitness test. I will tell you though … at the end of the day, if you can’t pass the Army Combat Fitness Test, then there is probably not a spot for you in the Army.”

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