Perhaps Army officials can help Kentaji Brown Jackson with a useful definition.
Looking at the news for the past week, I will note that Kentaji Brown Jackson will go down as a truly historic Supreme Court figure.
Her response to the definition of a woman (“I am not a biologist”) will go down as one of the most memorable moments in any confirmation proceedings, including the very vitriolic and hostile process Justice Brent Kavanaugh endured.
However, it seems that not every entity associated with the U.S. government is blind to the biological differences between men and women.
Following a three-year review, the Army has scrapped plans to use the same physical fitness test for all soldiers, choosing instead to have revised standards for women. Amendments to the test have also been made to address aging.
The decision follows a RAND-led study that found men were more easily passing the new, more difficult Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) compared to women and older soldiers, who were “failing at noticeably higher rates.” That six-event test developed in 2019 was an expansion from the three events — pushups, situps and a run — soldiers had done prior.
“This test is an essential part of maintaining the readiness of the Army as we transform into the Army of 2030,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in a statement announcing the changes. “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.”
A copy of the study can be found here.
After reviewing the information, I believe that adjustments were appropriate. As more research on physical fitness has been done, especially during the decades in which “working out” is common, a greater understanding has been reached in the components that make up physical fitness.
Having ACFT be a general fitness test with an age-and-gender-based scoring scale more accurately assesses an individual’s physical fitness, said [ Brig. Gen. Scott Naumann, the Army’s director of training in the office of the deputy chief of staff}.
“What is different is that this is a much better test. It’s much more comprehensive, it looks at all different aspects of fitness, from endurance to strength to aerobic capacity,” he said.
Also, the Army will be providing more equipment and training plans to help soldiers prepare for the test. A “governance structure” will also be put in place to ensure oversight of the test’s implementation over time, collect data on the test, and provide recommendations to senior leaders.
There are elements to the new test, which is designed to look at several elements of fitness, such as core strength.
Leg tucks are totally eliminated as the event to measure core strength, with planks taking their place. The rest of the test still includes the deadlift, hand-release pushups, the standing power throw, two-mile run and the sprint, drag, carry. Test designers were concerned that the leg tuck doesn’t strictly measure core muscle strength but also requires that a soldier spend a lot of energy on upper-body and grip strength.
Previously, the plank was introduced as an alternative event during the ACFT’s beta phase when it was discovered women were struggling with the leg tucks.
“If I don’t have the grip strength, but have the core strength, I can’t do a leg tuck,” Grinston said. “That was the reason for taking that out; we wanted to measure core strength.”
Army releases new physical fitness test / standards. pic.twitter.com/SqA4rc5R79
— Cernovich (@Cernovich) March 23, 2022
It must also be noted that certain positions will be subject to more rigorous standards.
Qualifying for certain Army jobs, particularly more demanding combat positions or specialties such as Ranger school, will continue to require that everyone — regardless of age or gender — must pass the same fitness tests and standards.
The adjustments are being greeted with a great deal of concern about lowering the standards. However, as it appears that the requirements are still more robust for positions requiring strength, there is a benefit for retaining and promoting those within the Army who are physically fit but in ways not measurable by the old tests.
However, the U.S. Army now has a new problem: How to define a woman. When it does, please let Kentaji Brown Jackson know.DONATE
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