By Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Runser, Indiana National GuardJuly 26, 2018
INDIANAPOLIS -- More than 100 Soldiers attended a town hall at the Indiana National Guard headquarters on July 25 to ask questions and voice their opinions about the force.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey visited Hoosier Guardsmen at Stout Field to discuss readiness and modernization, the Army total force concept, physical fitness, and how to improve as an enlisted Soldier.
"There are a few big topics we want to discuss," said Indiana National State Command Sgt. Maj. James Gordon. "We are on our way to improving the physical fitness test, creating more opportunities for education and training for enlisted Soldiers and narrowing capability gaps to enhance the Soldier's ability to fight, win and survive."
During the one-hour-long meeting, many Soldiers expressed excitement about the new and improved Army Combat Fitness Test, or ACFT, that will focus on the high physical demand tasks Soldiers perform in combat.
In July, Army senior leaders announced the new test, designed to better prepare Soldiers for combat tasks, reduce injuries, and lead to ample cost savings across the service.
The six-event ACFT is intended to replace the current three-event Army Physical Fitness Test, which has been around since 1980.
Beginning October 2020, all Soldiers will be required to take the new gender- and age-neutral test. Before that, field testing set to begin this October will allow the Army to refine the test, with initial plans for up to 40,000 Soldiers from all three components to see it.
"What you grade becomes important," said Dailey. "The new fitness test is designed to prove that you can complete your combat mission."
Dailey also voiced his support for modernizing the force and reshaping the Army's image. Topics ranged from the new "pink and green" uniform to improving Soldiers' tactical equipment.
Spearheading the Army's modernization efforts is the new Army Futures Command, which began operations July 1 and will be headquartered in Austin, Texas. This new four-star command will complement the Army's other four-star headquarters -- Forces Command, Training and Doctrine Command and Army Materiel Command -- and is scheduled to reach full operational capability in summer 2019.
"We are working on modernizing everything from the weapon you hold, to the vest you wear, to the tank you drive, to the helicopter you fly in," said Dailey. "We are not the only nation that benefits from an economy and the intellectual capacity to build things anymore, so we have to maintain that tactical edge."
The meeting gave Dailey the opportunity to address Soldiers' issues firsthand, and pay gratitude to them for serving their country.
"You all chose to be Soldiers, so thank you," said Dailey. "We couldn't do what we do as an Army without our National Guard and Reserve forces."