By Ms. Carol R Eubanks (FORSCOM)March 9, 2016
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (March 9, 2016) -- Leaders from U.S. Army Forces Command and Training and Doctrine Command discussed "Soldier 2020" during a senior leader summit panel discussion for the two commands here at Gen. George C. Marshall Hall.
Soldier 2020 is the Army's effort to ensure its military occupational specialties, or MOSs, are filled by Soldiers who are best qualified for them. Women are no longer prevented from performing many of the jobs that were previously closed to them, as long as they meet scientifically established, gender-neutral standards.
Before the session began, Gen. Robert B. Abrams, FORSCOM commanding general, emphasized the importance of physical fitness.
"Soldiering is a physical business. We need you for your brain. We need you for all your innovation and ingenuity. But to be a Soldier, there is a physical component. There's no getting around it," said Abrams.
Maj. Gen. Barrye L. Price, FORSCOM deputy chief of staff G-1 (personnel), facilitated the discussion. He opened with statistics that illustrated some of the achievements and sacrifices of women in the Army in 2011 -- when the Army began reviewing barriers to service for women -- to highlight the need for change.
"We had 77 women who had been killed in action as of that date; 857 who had been wounded in action; over 500 combat awards; over 9,000 combat action badges had been awarded to women," said Price. He went on to say that in 2011, the Army had a greater number of women serving as Lieutenant Generals than the total of women Lieutenant Generals in the other services.
A panel of experts representing both commands during the discussion included David Brinkley, a member of the senior executive service and the TRADOC assistant deputy chief of staff G-3/5/7 (operations and plans); Lt. Col. Christine Rice, FORSCOM action officer for Soldier 2020; and Jack Myers, TRADOC action officer for Soldier 2020.
The session included dialog about the occupational physical assessment test, or OPAT, which will be used as a physical version of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which the services use to determine qualification for enlistment and military specialty training.
The OPAT consists of four events that applicants will take during the recruiting process:
-The standing long jump, which tests lower body power and is used to assess the ability to complete tasks such as moving under direct fire or repetitive lifting and carrying.
-The seated power throw, which measures upper body strength and is used to determine a Soldier's ability to drag a casualty to safety, load a tank main gun or repetitively lift and carry.
-The strength deadlift, which evaluates lower body strength and is used to gauge a Soldier's ability to evacuate a casualty from a vehicle or load ammunition.
-The interval aerobic run, which calculates aerobic capacity and is used to determine a Soldier's ability to move under direct fire, as well as foot march.
There was also discussion on the progress of integrating women into units previously closed to them.
The summit attendees were updated on the progress and challenges with ensuring mid-grade women leaders are in place and ready to help integrate female Soldiers arriving to their first unit of assignment.