Congress Disagrees over Army Fitness Test Reform

Senate’s version would revert to the old Army fitness test while the House proposes sex-neutral standards.

Members of the House and Senate are working on the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which provides funding and approval for the military, its programs, and policies. The two chambers are currently at odds over the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT).

While both sides agreed that changes need to be made, the proposed solutions differ significantly. The House bill calls for the adoption of “sex-neutral physical fitness standards” for combat roles on the ACFT, whereas the Senate suggests replacing the test entirely with the old Army Physical Fitness Test—downgrading the ACFT to a supplementary tool.

The Senate’s version also included strict requirements for any changes to the old test, demanding a two-year pilot period, congressional briefings, and a one-year waiting period before implementing modifications. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas suggested eliminating the ACFT altogether.

The future of these proposals remains uncertain, as the defense policy bill still has several steps to complete, including finalization, approval, negotiation, and passage by both chambers of Congress before reaching President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Secretary Wormuth as she heads the Army branch of the U.S. military.
  • For representatives in the House as they deliberate the National Defense Authorization Act.
  • For members of the Senate as they consider downgrading the fitness standard test.

Sources: Military Times, Stars and Stripes


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