According to the Daily Wire, the United States Army is reportedly considering the removal of the “gender-neutral” Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), since more than half the women test takers have failed to pass it.
The ACFT, implemented in October 2020, involves six separate exercises consisting of “carrying kettlebells and dragging sleds across a field, throwing a 10-pound ball backward over their heads, performing hand-release pushups and completing a two-mile run,” according to the Washington Post. But apparently, the “performance imbalance is rooted primarily in one of the test’s six events, the leg tuck, which requires troops to hang from a pullup bar with their arms extended before lifting themselves up using abdominal and arm muscles.”
The dead lift was “another event that could pose a challenge for women,” the Post asserted. The U.S. Department of Defense stated that for the dead lift, “the ACFT will require soldiers to perform a three-repetition maximum deadlift,” with weights totalling from “120 to 420 pounds.”
The Daily Wire related that “To pass the test those taking it must score at least 360 points out of a possible 600, and those who achieve higher scores are more likely to be promoted. However, average scores for women so far are said to have been 100 points lower.”
“[Fifty-four] percent of female soldiers failed” the ACFT, while “7 percent of men during the second quarter of 2020” failed, according to the Post.
Congress believes that the test scores should not influence promotions or “opportunities for advancement.”
Thanks to the disparity, the idea of implementing “different evaluation categories for men and women” is reportedly being considered. However, Capt. Kristen Griest, the first woman to become an infantry officer in the Army, believes that the ACFT should remain in place.
“The entire purpose of creating a gender-neutral test was to acknowledge the reality that each job has objective physical standards to which all soldiers should be held, regardless of gender,” she stated in an article for the Modern War Institute. “The intent was not to ensure that women and men will have an equal likelihood of meeting those standards. Rather, it is incumbent upon women who volunteer for the combat arms profession to ensure they are fully capable and qualified for it. To not require women to meet equal standards in combat arms will not only undermine their credibility, but also place those women, their teammates, and the mission at risk.”