When I joined the Army in 1973 we tested fitness with a PT Test consisting of five events. Sit-ups, push-ups, the horizontal ladder, something called the run-dodge-jump, and a one mile run. We all hated that PT Test because it required an actual facility. And, it was hard to schedule time at the facility to conduct a PT test.
Then, in 78 or 79, the Army came out with a new PT Test that consisted of three events, Sit-up, push-ups and a two mile run. Commanders could schedule a test whenever they wanted to. It was scored based on age, and gender. 40-year-old soldiers were not expected to run the two miles as quickly as 18-year-old soldiers, and females were likewise scored on a separate scoring grid. It was a simple test, and the standards were simple. Simple to understand, simple to evaluate, simple to administer.
Last year or so, they came out with something called the Combat Fitness Test. As in all things Army, it complicated a previously simple metric. And, it was age and gender neutral, based on the idea that if a 40-year-old Colonel was going to lead a bunch of 18-year-old Privates, he should be able to keep up with them. And, it was gender-neutral. If the girls wanted to play, they needed to keep up too. I opined at the time that this exercise was doomed to fail.
Stars and Stripes is reporting that the Army is changing the way the test is administered and scored. They have decided that there is a biological difference between men and women.
The Army could adjust how it scores its new Combat Fitness Test to account for the “biological differences” between men and women, a service spokeswoman said Friday.
Well, duh. We've known that for years. I served with female soldiers in various capacities during my entire career, and I respected and admired many of them for the competence and professionalism, but I never expected them to crew tank, or serve in the Infantry. We knew that there were biological differences. I'm glad to see that the Army is reconciled to that immutable fact.
My beloved Army might not be terribly bright, sometimes, but it is certainly no place for social justice engineering.