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U.S. Army announced major changes to ACFT

Following an in-depth independent review by RAND and a three-year evaluation period that included Soldier feedback, the Army announced the implementation of the revised Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), which begins April 1, 2022.

According to the U.S. Army, “The revised physical fitness test incorporates new scoring scales, updated test events, and an implementation timeline that allows Soldiers to train for a minimum of six months before taking the test for record. These adjustments ensure fairness in the Army’s transition to a new test of record and maintains the Army’s strong commitment to a culture of physical fitness.”

Army implements ACFT based on scores, RAND study, and Soldier feedback

The test now includes performance-normed scoring standards, scaled to age and gender. Additional changes include making the plank the sole core-strength event and adding the 2.5-mile walk as an alternate aerobic event. Civilians are encouraged to try to train for the ACFT as a fun measurement and goal for physical fitness.

“This test is an essential part of maintaining the readiness of the Army as we transform into the Army of 2030,” said Christine E. Wormuth, Secretary of the Army. “The revisions to the ACFT are based on data and analysis, including an independent assessment required by Congress. We will continue to assess our implementation of the test to ensure it is fair and achieves our goal of strengthening the Army’s fitness culture.”

The new scoring standards were developed by using the data from the nearly 630,000 ACFT scores, historic performance rates from the APFT, and scoring scales from other branches of the U.S. military for the plank event.

The Army’s decision to remove the leg tuck comes after a study from RAND concluded that the exercise did not correctly measure core strength in all Soldiers, as it relied on Soldiers’ upper body strength as well. Instead, the plank exercise provides all Soldiers a similar testing experience and allows the Army to accurately assess all Soldiers’ core strength.

The ACFT will consist of six events: Maximum Dead Lift (MDL), Standing Power Throw (SPT), Hand-Release Push Up (HRP), Sprint/Drag/Carry (SDC), Plank (PLK), and the 2-Mile Run (2MR). The revised scoring tables for each event still require a minimum of 60-points to earn a passing score.


Soldiers with a permanent profile that prohibits the 2-Mile run will be authorized to perform alternate aerobic events which include: the 5,000-meter row, 12,000-meter stationary bike, 1,000-meter swim, or the 2.5 mile walk.

Soldiers will start taking diagnostic tests April 1, 2022, including at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). The Regular Army and Active Guard Reserve (AGR) Soldiers will be required to take a record ACFT beginning October 1, 2022. Regular Army and AGR Soldiers must take their first record test prior to April 1, 2023 while Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers will take their first record test prior to April 1, 2024. Timelines for specific policy actions vary by component.

The U.S. Army has commissioned additional analytic support from RAND and established a six-month delay before record testing is permitted to further reduce any remaining risk to our Soldiers. Additionally, the Army has established an ACFT governance body with oversight by Army Senior Leaders, to continue analysis of test data, closely monitor implementation, and recommend future modifications, as appropriate. An initial comprehensive report will be provided to the Secretary of the Army in April 2023. The Army expects Soldiers to pass the ACFT at rates similar to the APFT and will reassess standards over time.

Featured Image: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Gabriel Wright, a signals intelligence analyst with the 780th Military intelligence Brigade, grades the Hand-Release Push-Up event May 17, 2019, as part of Army Combat Fitness Test Level II Grader validation training, held at Fort Meade, Maryland. A mobile training team from Fort Gordon’s Cyber Center of Excellence NCO Academy in Georgia provided the training by teaching, coaching, and administering the ACFT to 114 NCOs. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Osvaldo Equite)

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