US Army uses new test to prep troops for combat

The U.S. Army is developing a new, more grueling and complex fitness exam that adds dead lifts, power throws and other exercises designed to make soldiers more fit and ready for combat.


Top Army officials told The Associated Press that the existing physical fitness tests employed by the military branch during basic training do not prepare soldiers adequately for the physical challenges they may encounter on the battlefield.

The test comes in response to concerns about readiness from top Army officials, who told the AP that as many as 12 percent of soldiers are undeployable due to injuries at any given time.

Gen. Stephen Townsend, head of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, told the AP that the new more physically intensive test is "necessary."

“We needed to change the culture of fitness in the United States Army," said Army Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commander of the Army’s Center for Initial Military Training and the officer leading the new test's development.

"We had a high number of nondeployable soldiers that had a lot of muscular/skeletal injuries and medical challenges because we hadn’t trained them from a fitness perspective in the right way."

About one-third of soldiers who enter the service leave before their third year due to injuries, according to Frost, which the Army attributes to insufficient fitness training during boot camp.

“The goal is about a having a more combat-ready army," he said.

The new test does not adjust scores for age or gender, unlike the current test. It also adds exercises including dead lifts, sprints with 40-pound weights, power throws and a 2-mile run, among other new tasks.

“Many folks find it easy to do the maximum standard for the current test,” Frost told the AP. “This new test is gender and age neutral. I cannot max this test.”

The AP reported on Wednesday that the new test will affect every soldier who attends basic training, including those not traditionally in combat roles.

“It breaks the mindset of 'I am an intel soldier,'” one military intelligence specialist told the news service. “It changes it to ‘I am a soldier,’ because bullets on the battlefield don’t discriminate.”

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