By: Ranjini K
April 12 2021
Although the U.S. Army currently has a gender-neutral scoring system for performance, it plans to place men and women on separate assessment scales.
Although the U.S. Army currently has a gender-neutral scoring system for performance, it plans to place men and women on separate assessment scales.Army Combat Fitness Test(ACFT) had replaced the Army Physical Fitness Test(APFT) fon October 1, 2020. The lawmakers had criticized ACFT for not being correctly designed. They highlighted that the system could undermine women's career prospects and, possibly, intensify the military's diversity problem as it failed to account for varying levels of fitness due to biological differences. ACFT comprises six tests, and one among them is the leg tuck, where the candidate has to hang with their arms extended from a pullup bar before lifting themselves using abdominal and arm muscles. Irrespective of genders, all the candidates must pass all six test events to qualify for the troop and carry kettlebells and sleds across a field. They should also throw a 10-pound ball behind their heads, performing hand-release pushups, and complete a two-mile run. On March 22, 2021, the Army leaders said they would create a new tiered system that would meet some of the fitness score differences between men and women. The U.S. Congress directed the U.S. Army to stop the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) until the impact of biological sex on fitness levels can be reviewed. Congress had cited the initial Army data showing that female candidates had failed in the test compared to male candidates. But, the Army approved to start the ACFT in October. The Army's Training and Doctrine Command review would be completed by the end of 2021. Maj. Gen. Lonnie Hibbard, head of the Army's Center for Initial Military Training, told reporters, "We will look at the application of a gender-neutral score to a personnel system as appropriate . . . to make sure that we acknowledge that there is a biological difference, a gender difference between men and women," On March 22, the Army ended its requirement that soldiers do at least one leg tuck as many troops could not do it. Now, soldiers will choose another exercise called the plank, and after this change, women's performance improved. Currently, the Army has a single, gender-neutral scoring system for the test. It is planning to place men and women in separate performance range, but this is yet to be implemented.