The Army is reportedly having second thoughts about gender-neutral fitness testing.
Task & Purpose reported Thursday that three years after unveiling a gender-neutral scoring system for its Army Combat Fitness Test, the service is considering a change that would score soldiers on a service-wide percentile separated by gender.
“We had this big thing of inclusion but this is one of the biggest eyesores that goes against inclusion,” an unnamed Army official told the news outlet.
The news outlet cited briefing slides it obtained — marked as “pre-decisional— that show changes under consideration for the ACFT.
“We know there is a physiological difference between men and women,” one slide read, Task & Purpose reported. “The Army has to account for this and remove the competition between genders or Congress will never allow ACFT implementation.”
Preliminary scores showed a wide gap between men’s and women’s scores on the test in 2019, the Army Times reported.
The ACFT was supposed to become the official test of record in the service in Oct. 2020, but the official implementation was pushed back due to COVID-19, Task & Purpose reported.
There are other problems that need to be addressed though, retired Navy captain and SWAN director of government affairs Lory Manning told Task & Purpose.
“When you’re coming up with gender-neutral standards, if there are men or women for instance — or by age, or whatever groups of people who are currently doing the job satisfactorily — who can’t pass the standards, who can’t meet the standards, then there’s something wrong with the standards,” she told Task & Purpose. “Why don’t they just go start from the beginning and validate things properly?”
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