Female Physical Requirements For Army – WASHINGTON — For 99 percent of Americans, this question never comes up in a job interview: Can you hang from a bar with your legs crossed over your chest?
However, it has become a central issue for the military, where the fitness levels of recruits have come under increased scrutiny over the past two decades, just as women have entered elite combat units and assumed leadership roles. I have tried to develop.
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Now the military is racing to approve major changes to its legendary physical fitness test, the first revision since the 1980s, that would include offering soldiers an alternative to bone grafts, a flashpoint for women. is, especially for those who have given birth to a child.
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Meanwhile, the new version of the test, which is required twice a year, creates separate score curves based on gender and age. In its initial rollout among 14,000 troops, 65 percent of a small set of women passed the new test, compared to 10 percent of men.
Army leaders are also considering changes to the role of fitness in promotion, which critics say overshadows skills and intellectual preparation for jobs in emerging areas of conflict such as cyber warfare.
Across the force, Soldiers and their commanders know that major changes in these requirements will mean a significant cultural shift for a fitness-obsessed force.
The proper role of fitness in the modern military — and how best to evaluate it — has come under scrutiny from Congress, which ordered the military to conduct an independent review of its latest fitness test amid concerns That made it more difficult. For the success of women.
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“The importance of this test goes beyond the gender issue,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who has focused on the area for years, said in an interview. “This raises the question of how to attract a variety of skills and talents to the military. We need to ensure that the test does not include medics, cyber warriors and others who have Physical fitness is important, but perhaps not in the same way as a man or woman walking into battle.
Captain Ungrau said his questions about the latest fitness test for women who have recently given birth are met with mostly laughter. Credit… Lexi Sowell for The New York Times
Captain Ungrau has served in the Army for 12 years and was selected for promotion to the rank of Major. Credit… Lexi Sowell for The New York Times
The Army’s first female infantry officer wrote an opinion piece last month advocating for maintaining the same physical requirements for men and women in the combat forces, sparking new conversations about the issue and Urgency was born.
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Lower standards of women’s fitness “reinforce the belief that women cannot perform as well as men, making it difficult for women to gain the trust and confidence of their teammates,” captain Kristen Greist wrote. who was one of the first two women to graduate. From Army Ranger School
Top Army leaders are trying to strike a balance between an outdated test and the reality of a diverse force that will be needed to prevent shrinking recruitment and retention.
“One of the things we’ve seen in the last 20 years of combat is that we were training cross-country but we were playing rugby,” said Maj. Gen. Lonnie G. Hibbard, the commanding general of the U.S. Army. Army Center for Basic Military Training. The army was concerned that many soldiers, who were unfit for combat, were often wounded, and as a result, some soon deserted the army.
The introduction of the new test in 2018, which sparked immediate controversy, came at a time of gender integration in the military, and the issues were immediately intertwined, she said. General Hibbard said the military cannot separate gender integration from force health. “In the past, it’s all been a perfect storm that hasn’t helped us communicate what we’re trying to do.”
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Lower fitness standards for women “reinforce the belief that women cannot perform as well as men, making it difficult for women to gain the trust and confidence of their teammates,” the Army’s first female infantry officer. Written by Captain Kristen Greist. John Bazemore/Associated Press
The wellness battle has fueled perceptions that the military, which in many ways leads the way for racial and gay integration in American institutions, outpaces the civilian world in workplace gender dynamics.
In the civilian workplace, jobs can usually be modified to conform to ergonomic principles that do not apply in a military environment. In contrast, war is a gender neutral activity. Lifting the dead and wounded, throwing grenades, kicking in doors, carrying heavy loads can fall to any soldier, even a cook, but there is no escaping the fact that there are differences in muscle strength between the sexes. Is.
Nevertheless, thousands of women have had successful careers in the military using the old modified fitness test standards.
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“It was not intended to discriminate against women,” said Nora Benschel, a visiting professor of strategic studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies who has studied the new standards, known as the Army Combat Fitness Test. Is. “But the test affects your marketing and will have a different effect. Many women see it as the military’s intention to get them out.”
Since 1980, all active duty soldiers have been required to take a test that measures their ability to do sit-ups, push-ups and run a two-mile run. Now, armed with a sophisticated fitness analysis, Army leaders hope to create a new test that better tracks combat fitness requirements. The newer methods generally require much more upper body and core strength than the older versions.
Army troops witness a demonstration of new fitness test requirements at Fort Bragg in 2019. Credit… Jerry Broome/Associated Press
The new 120-minute test, called the Army Combat Fitness Test, consists of six events including speed, endurance and strength. The passing criteria are the same for men and women and all ages. A Soldier must score 360 points out of a maximum of 600 to pass, and higher scores have historically greatly increased the chances of promotion.
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The Army planned to begin taking the new test last October for all active duty, National Guard and Reserve soldiers. Congress then mandated that the test not be used for promotions and other government functions, instead allowing continued testing and data collection. Army leaders say they expect the next version to become official in March 2022.
The coronavirus pandemic has added another wrinkle by making group exercise more difficult, if not impossible. (Another criticism of the new test is that its training requires a lot of equipment and access to gyms, which low-income soldiers and National Guard members don’t have the time or money to exercise. )
In the weeks since Captain Grist’s post, women in the military have had heated debates on social media about fitness standards.
“I was ready to give my life for my country, and I deployed, no questions asked,” said Capt. Sarah Ingrave, who, with 12 years in the Army, was selected for promotion to major. were “But when it came to changing the fabric of how we view fitness, women weren’t even part of the conversation.”
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Captain Ungrau sees many pitfalls in addition to leg surgery, which is more difficult for women who have recently given birth to a child like hers. Women are expected to weigh less than men, but must gain a lot of muscle mass to perform the heavy deadlifts required for the new test, he said.
“When I asked an Army sergeant major what the policy was for postpartum tests, he laughed,” she said.
That’s when she started organizing to push other women back. “I’m a captain and I can make people listen to me,” said Capt. Ingrau, who, despite her criticism, stressed that she expects the military, a cherished family tradition, to be her life. Will have a full career. “I have women who don’t have the same influence.”
“I’m a captain and I can make people listen to me,” said Captain Ungrau. Credit… Lexi Sowell for The New York Times
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Captain Ungrau’s husband Nick, a major in the army, performs controversial leg surgery. Credit… Lexi Sowell for The New York Times
Capt. Greist, a Ranger School graduate who now serves on the Army Talent Management Task Force, sees his leadership role differently. She believes that women can be raised to a higher level of physical fitness for combat, and she believes that she should be a role model for young recruits and help them achieve difficult training goals. Must help.
“Fitness is vital to your job in the military,” said Capt. Greist, adding that she wrote her post because “women are underrepresented in the combat arms.” She wanted to give them a voice.
He said the Army has to decide “what is needed on the battlefield and hold everyone to that standard”. “For example, I want a soldier to be able to.
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