The Pentagon announced Wednesday it is mothballing the new gender-neutral fitness test for all soldiers. Instead, the test will have reduced standards for women and older military personnel.
The six-event test rolled out in 2019 as a replacement to the older “pushups, situps, and a run” format which was utilized for decades. Officials believed it would better replicate real-life combat conditions while reducing the risk of injuries.
The results were another matter.
Between October 2020 and April 2021, a study by the RAND research organization showed about 44% of women failed the test compared to about 7% of men. There were significantly higher failure rates for older men, and reservists placed well behind the regular Army.
The change announced by the Pentagon this week allows women and older men to meet different standards and still pass. Women, for example, need to pick up 20 pounds less in the dead lift than men, and men older than 46 also need to lift less to pass.
RAND concluded the revised test better assesses soldiers’ general physical fitness and using a tiered scale increases fairness and makes the results less punitive. The study showed that a high number would fail, even though they are otherwise in good standing with the Army.
The study concluded the test was a good assessment of fitness but did not accurately reflect job performance. Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth also expressed concerns that the test is affecting the branch’s retention of women.
The change brings the Army in line with other military services.
The age- and gender-norming changes are similar to the old Army Physical Fitness Test, which was logical and took into consideration what were once obvious realities of gender and age differences.
But as we know, what once was obvious is no more. That men and women are physically different must be thrown out the window so we can celebrate a collegiate swimmer who wants to play dress-up. The Army now promotes Pride Month and dismisses lieutenant colonels from posts for criticizing the spread of Critical Race Theory into military doctrine. At least, in this one case, logic and common sense still prevailed.