Army will have new physical fitness test in 2020

Patricia Battle

On Oct. 1, in 2020, the Army Combat Fitness test will be gender and age- neutral.

“I’ve taken it, it is hard, but not overly difficult,” said LTC David Simms, a professor of military science in Army ROTC. “I’m a 41-year-old man who has spent more than four years in combat and I have two back surgeries, one neck surgery and a reconstructed shoulder. It’s fine.”

The physical fitness test assesses a soldier’s ability to do the physically demanding portion of their job in a combat zone. Soldiers are tested every six months.

“The test does require us to look at a holistic approach to fitness — the body, the diet and proper rest,” Simms said.

Kent State Cadets will be introduced to the new test in the spring semester of next year.

“We are already doing a lot of the prep drills for this test through the integration of drills from the Army’s current physical fitness doctrine, which was implemented across our Army beginning in 2012,” he said.

Basheem Simpson is a specialist in the U.S. Army, and he welcomes the change.

“I thought the change was well-needed, maybe overdue,” Simpson said. “It puts a lot of soldiers on equal (playing) field where depending on their job in the military, their fitness test pretty much relates to it. If they have a light job that requires a light load, their fitness test is light. If they have a job that requires a heavy load … their test is a little more difficult.”

Simpson believes some changes can make things more difficult for soldiers.

“A lot of soldiers don’t do too well with change, and feel as though this new PT test will be more difficult concerning there are a lot more tests added to it,” he said. “To include, they kept the two-mile run at the end of the test. It’s a lot more … demanding from what we are doing.”

Regardless of the changes, he said the test is still something that can be accomplished.

“If a soldier is doing the right thing to maintain good physical health, it shouldn’t change much for them,” he said.

The change to this test can set the tone for further revisions in the Army in the future, Simpson added.

“The Army is constantly evolving and trying to understand where we are as a nation, where we are as an Army and (does) what needs to be done to accommodate. It definitely signifies more changes to come,” he said.

Patricia Battle is the military and veterans and adult services reporter. Contact her at [email protected].