After delays, Army ready to roll out combat arms fitness test
SAN ANTONIO — The Army will roll out a new physical fitness test Jan. 3 for recruits and soldiers to reclassify to demanding combat arms jobs, the Army said Wednesday.
After delays this year, the Occupational Physical Assessment Test will be administered to new recruits interested in physically demanding specialties such as the infantry and tank crews, along with soldiers already in the service looking to change their military occupational specialty.
Recruits will take the assessment test before basic combat training, said an Army Training and Doctrine Command spokesman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The test will help predict the ability of a recruit or a soldier to meet physical demands in those jobs.
Officials have pointed to a loss of troops who are fit enough for combat as a concern that drove development of the test. Dr. Whitfield East, a research physiologist with the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training, said in a Army.mil story in June that the service loses soldiers in those roles who enter combat arms and fail to physically perform, which can cause manpower and readiness issues. The test was designed to lower attrition in demanding jobs, East said.
The Army originally planned to roll out the test in June, the Army spokesman said.
That implementation date “was pushed back so we could better evaluate and refine the assessment through testing and ensure the proper equipment was available at all testing sites around the country,” he said. “Our focus is on getting this right the first time.”
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