Sgt. 1st Class Byron Barksdale, G-1 noncommissioned officer in charge, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, performs the sprint-drag-carry event during physical training on May 5, 2022, at the command's Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, headquarters. He is preparing for the Army Combat Fitness Test, which is being implemented in October. (U.S. Army photo by Ayumi Davis) (Photo Credit: Ayumi Davis) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – U.S. Army Soldiers have until October 2022 to prepare for their first official Army Combat Fitness Test. They have until April 2023 to complete the test.

To help its Soldiers prepare for the test, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company will conduct weekly physical training sessions at Redstone Arsenal and Peterson Space Force Base, Colorado.

“They’re not exercises everyone does every day,” said Capt. Jonathan Maginot, commander of USASMDC HHC.

Maginot is hosting PT every Thursday at 6:30 a.m. at the command’s Redstone Arsenal headquarters and every Friday at 6:30 a.m. at Peterson Space Force Base’s track.

The track on Redstone Arsenal, located behind the Candlewood Suites, is the official PT and testing site. However, it is currently under construction and likely will not be used until the third week of May, Maginot estimated.

While the Army requires one diagnostic, or practice, test before taking the test for official record, USASDMC HHC will conduct at least one diagnostic test each month until October 2022 to allow Soldiers to familiarize themselves with the events and equipment related to the ACFT.

“The previous test is very different from this new test so we want to give people the opportunity to experience the new events,” Maginot said. “If you have not practiced the new events, you’re not going to do as well as you could otherwise, so it’s [the diagnostic test] giving people a chance to get out there and try them before actually doing it in a testing environment.”

While the monthly diagnostics allow Soldier to familiarize themselves with the test, they also allow multiple chances to pass the test. For the first “for record” test, a Soldier may elect to use one of their scores from a monthly diagnostic in lieu of taking an “official” test. Diagnostic tests will only be conducted until the official implementation of the ACFT.

There have also been a couple of changes made to the ACFT, such as the implementation of age and gender performance-normed scoring scales. This was done to more accurately evaluate an individual’s physical fitness goals while taking into account age and gender.

The ACFT is also adding a 2.5-mile walk as an alternate aerobic event and switching the leg tuck for the plank as the core strength assessment event. A study conducted by RAND Corporation found that the leg tuck required a minimum prerequisite amount of upper body strength, making it difficult to proportionately measure core strength among Soldiers. The plank was added as the sole way to test core strength.

The ACFT will be required biannually and must be completed with at least 120 days between test dates.