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  #51  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
Out of curiosity, how does the ACFT compare to say... the USMC fitness standards? Is it notably tougher? If not, I would question why there's such an outcry about the Army initiating such a test when the USMC already has similar standards.
Well the USMC has gender-based requirements still, so.... the ACFT is remarkably different.
  #52  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:04 PM
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And yet the military services make bad decisions about their personnel readiness programs all the time. That the organization that ought to know best has decided so does not make it so.
We would hope that militaries would be efficient and effective organizations but they tend very much not to be. Their specificity, insularity and understandable secrecy doesn't help them either. There isn't much reason to think that the military is better at figuring out personnel requirements than it is at materiel requirements and history, especially since the second industrial revolution, is full of militaries having the wrong ideas about what was required to achieve the highest level of overall effectiveness in fighting wars.

I'll talk the ear off anyone who asks for illustrations but if not, the Youtube channel Forgotten Weapons is a fount of examples of ill-conceived military requirements.

Throwing out people over some of these tests may be the equivalent of throwing out an otherwise good infantryman because he sucks at bayonet fighting. Is it possible that it will become important in some extreme situation? Yes. It's most likely not worth chucking out that infantryman over it, though.

As Thorny Locust suggests, we have to think about the risks of including some people but also what we would deprive the organization, and society, and the people involved, of by summarily dismissing them over possibly tradition-bound or poorly-thought-through conceptions of what makes a good candidate.

I have a vague memory of the SEALs coming up with requirements that relaxed some elements while stressing others. Maybe something as closely-tailored could be done for REMFs, especially personnel who, in the civilian world, would come under the heading of knowledge workers, because they're going to be among those who contribute the most in modern warfare.
  #53  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:05 PM
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The single organization on the whole planet best-equipped to decide if this particular skillset is valuable or not is the US Army, and they say it is valuable.
ThE aRmY mAkEs GoOd DeCiSiOnS aBoUt ItS pEoPlE.

Sometimes you're so far out of your element you should just step back and listen instead of interjecting whenever you think you have a point to make.
  #54  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:13 PM
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What should happen is that the Army decides just what a soldier needs to be able to do, devises a test that accurately reflects those needed abilities, applies that test in a gender-blind way, and accepts anyone (of either gender) who passes the test. If physical strength is something that a soldier actually needs, then this process is likely to accept a higher proportion of men than women.

Is this what actually happened? I'm not in a position to know. But if what the Army did is worthy of criticism (note the "if"), then it should be on the grounds that the test doesn't accurately reflect what a soldier actually needs. It shouldn't be criticized based on the outcomes.
  #55  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:21 PM
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ThE aRmY mAkEs GoOd DeCiSiOnS aBoUt ItS pEoPlE.

Sometimes you're so far out of your element you should just step back and listen instead of interjecting whenever you think you have a point to make.
Thatís enough steronz. Do not tell other posters what they can or canít post.
  #56  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ASL v2.0 View Post
And yet the military services make bad decisions about their personnel readiness programs all the time. That the organization that ought to know best has decided so does not make it so.
And so you think we should substitute their judgement for ... what? A bunch of random posters on an internet message board? A gaggle of university professors? A bunch of congressmen? Who else should be making that decision if not the Army itself?
  #57  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:26 PM
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What should happen is that the Army decides just what a soldier needs to be able to do, devises a test that accurately reflects those needed abilities, applies that test in a gender-blind way, and accepts anyone (of either gender) who passes the test. If physical strength is something that a soldier actually needs, then this process is likely to accept a higher proportion of men than women.

Is this what actually happened? I'm not in a position to know. But if what the Army did is worthy of criticism (note the "if"), then it should be on the grounds that the test doesn't accurately reflect what a soldier actually needs. It shouldn't be criticized based on the outcomes.
You won't find this written anywhere, but the real reason behind all current fitness tests is to make sure the service isn't filled up with a bunch of overweight fleabags who get winded doing basic tasks, like a lot of police departments are. Army leadership wants Joe and Jane Soldier to look decent in a uniform, generally take care of their bodies, and stay healthy. This is, of course, a subjective standard, and prior to fitness tests it was handled at the lowest level possible -- Private Pyle wasn't being harassed about his weight by some nameless test, remember.

Any attempt to codify those mushy requirements is bound to make some people unhappy, and others will still argue that they should be allowed to be doughy fleabags if they're in a non-combat role. But what you're describing excludes this goal entirely. It's perfectly reasonable to expect people to meet some arbitrary definition of "fit" while not expecting 40 year old women to be as strong as 20 year old men.
  #58  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
The single organization on the whole planet best-equipped to decide if this particular skillset is valuable or not is the US Army, and they say it is valuable.
Well, let's look at the skill sets and how the genders did, the numbers are percent fails:

Deadlift M 2% F 4%
Power Throw M 9% F 7%
Push Up M 4% F 4%
Sprint Drag Carry M 5% F 3%
2 Mile Run M 11% F 6%
Leg Tuck M 14% F 72%

It seems blindingly clear that the issue, the entirety of the issue, is the leg tuck. Outside of this one skill, the females are actually outperforming the males.

If the failures occurred across all skills, I could chalk it it up to men being generally more athletically inclined, and women just not athletic enough to pass the tougher ACFT but that isn't what's happening. It's one skill driving the whole difference.

That just screams to me that something other than general fitness is coming into play. If that's the case, you better be damn sure that this exact skill done this exact way is what you really truly need. Because, if it's just a proxy for climbing skills, and women who fail the Leg Tuck can climb just fine, it's a bad proxy for a useful skill
  #59  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:31 PM
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Who cares??? We have no natural enemies and if Fatty McFattison wants to die of a heart attack in Afghanistan....go right ahead. I don't care if our army is 100,00 elite "Starship Troopers" with 130 IQ each or 10,000,000 schlubs.
  #60  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
And so you think we should substitute their judgement for ... what? A bunch of random posters on an internet message board?
Well, a bunch of random posters on an internet message board is you're asking right now in this thread you started.

Note that posters in this thread have on a few occasions mentioned the need for empirical data, analysis and experimentation as opposed to just spouting off what they think the requirements should be. Any of those elements would benefit from, couldn't do without really, what people in uniform have to say and on many issues where practical experience is paramount. Others wouldn't be in a good position to tell them they're wrong and would take what they say as the best data available.


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Originally Posted by Dale Sams View Post
Who cares??? We have no natural enemies and if Fatty McFattison wants to die of a heart attack in Afghanistan....go right ahead. I don't care if our army is 100,00 elite "Starship Troopers" with 130 IQ each or 10,000,000 schlubs.
People who fight wars care very much. If you want to see an example of a military of 100 000 Starship Troopers with 130 IQ vs 10,000,000 schlubs looks like when they have it out for real, look at the Six Day War.

Last edited by MichaelEmouse; 10-09-2019 at 12:37 PM.
  #61  
Old 10-09-2019, 12:51 PM
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I don't know what the Army was thinking - no test involving upper body strength is going to have gender-neutral results. Men are way stronger than women, particularly in the upper body, and training increases the gap. The short answer is No. Any measurement of arm or shoulder strength is going to disfavor female soldiers. ...
That's not true at all. Altho, yes, Women do have less upper body strength, this test doesnt pass the upper 50% or anything, it just sets a standard.

You could have a test for upper body strength that 95% of females would pass.
  #62  
Old 10-09-2019, 01:17 PM
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That's not true at all. Altho, yes, Women do have less upper body strength, this test doesnt pass the upper 50% or anything, it just sets a standard.

You could have a test for upper body strength that 95% of females would pass.
Yes, it sets a standard. The standard is one that most women can't meet, and most men can. Because far more men are in the upper 50% of upper body strength for human beings. Because men, on average, have far more upper body strength.

And you could certainly devise a test for upper body strength that 95% of women could pass. 99+% of men would pass it, and you would still have gender disparity. Besides, it misses the point.

The purpose is not to devise a test that women can pass. The purpose of the test is to find out who has enough upper body strength to meet the standard to be an effective soldier. Biology indicates that far more men than women are going to meet that standard.

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  #63  
Old 10-09-2019, 01:37 PM
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Terrible test. Way too many subjective judgments. “Must remain relatively vertical” “a minimum of swinging or kipping” (whatever that means)

There is no way for a commanding officer to judge the performance without bias creeping in. Even if the test was gender neutral, the subjective nature makes it impossible to know.
  #64  
Old 10-09-2019, 02:37 PM
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I've got news for you folks: leg tucks are just a way of sneaking in pull-ups, and women generally have a harder time doing pull-ups than men do. But hold on before saying women therefore lack upper-body strength forever-and-ever-amen. With proper training, women CAN and DO crush pull-ups and leg tucks.

The stats supposedly leaked are NOT VALID because they were mere preliminary tests. The army is still devising the training needed so the AFPT functions as a true fitness test and not the equivalent of pulling people off the bleachers and challenging them to do leg-tucks. Without training, most of you guys couldn't do a leg-tuck, either.

So again: WAIT UNTIL THE TRAINING IS ESTABLISHED AND DONE before having this frickin' debate!
  #65  
Old 10-09-2019, 02:47 PM
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As a practical matter, this is irrelevant even if accurate. What’s the conclusion we’re supposed to draw, that women don’t belong in the military? Roughly 14% of the military are women, and that’s not something the pentagon is going to give up. A solution will be found because the alternative is both politically and practically unacceptable.
  #66  
Old 10-09-2019, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheesesteak View Post
Well, let's look at the skill sets and how the genders did, the numbers are percent fails:

Deadlift M 2% F 4%
Power Throw M 9% F 7%
Push Up M 4% F 4%
Sprint Drag Carry M 5% F 3%
2 Mile Run M 11% F 6%
Leg Tuck M 14% F 72%
That's really interesting. Thanks, Cheesesteak.

I wonder whether the issue with the leg tuck might have to do with hip structure. Maybe the (as Sterling Archer says) subjective impression of what's "too much" swinging is affected by gender differences in hip structure? Women's legs are going to angle differently from men's, in most cases.

And if women are doing as well or better at deadlift, power throw, sprint drag carry, and 2 mile run: is the leg tuck actually measuring anything useful? I can see why lifting, throwing, rapidly moving heavy things/people, and running significant distances could matter. I can see why lifting oneself could matter. I don't know why the amount that one's legs swing while lifting oneself would matter, though it's possible I'm just missing something.
  #67  
Old 10-09-2019, 03:21 PM
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I think the old Army APFT was just fine as it was.

The problem is (as I saw it) was that there was a lot of complaining from people who misunderstood to be an ability test - (i.e. I need 42 pushups to pass, but the women only need 12, boo hoo, so unfair).

What the Army should have done, instead of attempting to make it gender neutral, was to explain that it was not an ability test, it was a fitness test. It reflects the effort that you invest to maximize physical conditioning, with the side effect of reflecting motivation and pride.

With that understanding, it's perfectly fine to have gender disparities in fitness standards. Whenever there are real, consequential differences in objective ability, various skill qualifications and training courses should take care of that. i.e. Ranger school is not about doing pushups, it's about doing complicated tasks and walking around a lot with very little food or sleep for a few months.
  #68  
Old 10-09-2019, 04:13 PM
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As a point of comparison, what percentage of the IDF's combat soldiers are female? (Short of time; can't do Google research at the moment.)
  #69  
Old 10-09-2019, 08:27 PM
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What the Army should have done, instead of attempting to make it gender neutral, was to explain that it was not an ability test, it was a fitness test. It reflects the effort that you invest to maximize physical conditioning, with the side effect of reflecting motivation and pride.

With that understanding, it's perfectly fine to have gender disparities in fitness standards. Whenever there are real, consequential differences in objective ability, various skill qualifications and training courses should take care of that. i.e. Ranger school is not about doing pushups, it's about doing complicated tasks and walking around a lot with very little food or sleep for a few months.
Agreed -- the baseline of the general test should be about the troops maintaining high fitness, which is not necessarily identical-looking for any two human bodies even of the same gender. Then you move on to testing for what are the requirements for task performance. The rub, of course, is that in an organization like the Army you have to have some sort of standardized test and doing standardized testing right is a pain and sometimes it just can't be fine-tuned enough.
  #70  
Old 10-09-2019, 10:01 PM
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As a point of comparison, what percentage of the IDF's combat soldiers are female? (Short of time; can't do Google research at the moment.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_...Defense_Forces

Women have taken part in Israelís military before and since the founding of the state in 1948,[5][6] with women comprising over 20% of Israeli forces in 1948, and 33% of all IDF soldiers and 51% of its officers, in 2011,[7] fulfilling various roles within the Ground, Navy and Air Forces. The 2000 Equality amendment to the Military Service law states that "The right of women to serve in any role in the IDF is equal to the right of men."[3] As of now, 88% to 92%[8] of all roles in the IDF are open to female candidates, while women can be found in 69% of all positions.[1]

Up until 2001 women conscripts served in the Women's Corps, commonly known by its Hebrew acronym, CHEN. After a five-week period of basic training they served as clerks, drivers, welfare workers, nurses, radio operators, flight controllers, ordnance personnel, and course instructors.[9] As of 2011, 88% to 92% of all roles in the IDF are open to female candidates, while women can be found in 69% of all positions.[10][11]

In 2014, the IDF said that fewer than 4 percent of women are in combat positions such as infantry, tank crews, artillery guns service, fighter pilots, etc. Rather, they are concentrated in "combat-support".[12]
  #71  
Old 10-10-2019, 02:01 AM
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What should happen is that the Army decides just what a soldier needs to be able to do, devises a test that accurately reflects those needed abilities, applies that test in a gender-blind way, and accepts anyone (of either gender) who passes the test. If physical strength is something that a soldier actually needs, then this process is likely to accept a higher proportion of men than women.

Is this what actually happened? I'm not in a position to know. But if what the Army did is worthy of criticism (note the "if"), then it should be on the grounds that the test doesn't accurately reflect what a soldier actually needs. It shouldn't be criticized based on the outcomes.
Yes, that's exactly what happened. They've spent several years developing this test and refining the scoring criteria.

Also, it's important to point out to everyone talking about infantry vs. office staff, etc. that the passing scores are different for different jobs.
So, while the test is the same, an infantryman is required to score higher in each event in order to pass. They've done away with age and gender based scoring standards and have changed to standards based solely on occupational specialty.

Last edited by Bear_Nenno; 10-10-2019 at 02:02 AM.
  #72  
Old 10-10-2019, 11:29 AM
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I've got news for you folks: leg tucks are just a way of sneaking in pull-ups, and women generally have a harder time doing pull-ups than men do. But hold on before saying women therefore lack upper-body strength forever-and-ever-amen. With proper training, women CAN and DO crush pull-ups and leg tucks.

The stats supposedly leaked are NOT VALID because they were mere preliminary tests. The army is still devising the training needed so the AFPT functions as a true fitness test and not the equivalent of pulling people off the bleachers and challenging them to do leg-tucks. Without training, most of you guys couldn't do a leg-tuck, either.

So again: WAIT UNTIL THE TRAINING IS ESTABLISHED AND DONE before having this frickin' debate!
Not Leg Tucks. Leg Tuck. Singular! It's worth mentioning that the minimum passing score for non-combat, service/support soldiers is one leg tuck. ONE! That's it. These soldiers who failed, did so because they could not do a single leg tuck.
The minimum passing score for the heaviest hitters is five. Five...
  #73  
Old 10-10-2019, 11:34 AM
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... So again: WAIT UNTIL THE TRAINING IS ESTABLISHED AND DONE before having this frickin' debate!
Look, if you don't want to participate, that's fine, but there's no reason the rest of us can't discuss the preliminary results. It certainly would seem that waiting until it becomes the test of record and a whole bunch of women potentially have their military careers damaged for failing the test would be waiting too long.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 10-10-2019 at 11:34 AM.
  #74  
Old 10-10-2019, 11:42 AM
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(Almost*) everyone in the Army.

From the Army ACFT FAQs:



* There are apparently alternative events:



I don't have any hard figures to cite, but I'd be surprised if the % of "selected Soldiers with permanent profiles that prevent full participation in the 6-event test" is very high.
It might not be clear from the terminology, but a "permanent profile" is something that a permanently injured soldier receives from a medical doctor. They are only issued to personnel who have injuries which limit a specific activity, but not necessarily prevent them from doing their job. The profile lists specific physical limitations for the soldier, and will explicitly state which exercises of the APFT or ACFT they are exempt from. For these events, an alternate event is authorized.
  #75  
Old 10-10-2019, 12:00 PM
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Not Leg Tucks. Leg Tuck. Singular! It's worth mentioning that the minimum passing score for non-combat, service/support soldiers is one leg tuck. ONE! That's it. These soldiers who failed, did so because they could not do a single leg tuck.
And yet, they could pass the deadlift, the power throw, the pushup, and the sprint drag carry. (And the two mile run, though that wouldn't test upper body strength.)

Again, what actual necessary skill is the leg tuck testing for that is not tested by any of the deadlift, power throw, pushup, sprint drag carry, or two mile run? And if it's the ability to climb, what does the amount of leg swinging have to do with it?

(And where do you see that one/five requirement? All I can find in the links is 20 leg tucks to max out. I may have missed something.)
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:03 PM
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... (And where do you see that one/five requirement? All I can find in the links is 20 leg tucks to max out. I may have missed something.)
https://www.army.mil/e2/downloads/rv..._standards.pdf seems to have the answer.
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:18 PM
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(And where do you see that one/five requirement? All I can find in the links is 20 leg tucks to max out. I may have missed something.)
BN is an currently serving officer, so I'm guessing he has seen it somewhere in his Official Army Paperwork.
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  #78  
Old 10-10-2019, 12:19 PM
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... Again, what actual necessary skill is the leg tuck testing for that is not tested by any of the deadlift, power throw, pushup, sprint drag carry, or two mile run? And if it's the ability to climb, what does the amount of leg swinging have to do with it? ...
To try to answer some of your questions here, the leg tuck test isn't testing for a "skill" exactly (such as climbing); it's something the Army has determined is indicative of an appropriate level of physical conditioning / health / strength. Their FAQ says "The LTK assesses the strength of the Soldiers grip, arm, shoulder and trunk muscles. These muscles assist Soldiers in load carriage and in avoiding injuries to the back." Swinging one's legs excessively uses momentum to reduce the effort required to complete the task. That might be considered a savvy, energy-saving move in a lot of competitions, but in this case it undermines the purpose of the test, which is to "assess the strength of the Soldiers ...".

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 10-10-2019 at 12:21 PM.
  #79  
Old 10-10-2019, 12:27 PM
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Thanks for link and info.

Do the deadlift and the drag carry not also require strength in grip, arm, shoulder, and trunk muscles? Why the huge discrepancy between the results in those and in the leg tuck?
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Old 10-10-2019, 12:39 PM
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... Do the deadlift and the drag carry not also require strength in grip, arm, shoulder, and trunk muscles? ...
Yes, at least to some extent.

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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
... Why the huge discrepancy between the results in those and in the leg tuck?
This is just speculation on my part, but I would guess that it has to do with the fact that the leg tuck involves holding / lifting your entire body weight by your hands / arms. It's an event quite focused on upper-body strength (and dependent on one's weight) in a way that the deadlift and drag carry do not.
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:13 PM
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This is just speculation on my part, but I would guess that it has to do with the fact that the leg tuck involves holding / lifting your entire body weight by your hands / arms. It's an event quite focused on upper-body strength (and dependent on one's weight) in a way that the deadlift and drag carry do not.
Another possible factor is that women tend to carry more of their body weight in their lower body, so they are lifting a relatively higher proportion of body weight doing the tuck.

Regards,
Shodan
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Old 10-10-2019, 01:29 PM
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I'm going to keep saying this until it gets across.

The new APFT is not in use yet. The data cited in the OP is from personnel who were not yet trained.

Just like the current APFT, the new APFT will determine whether personnel who have been through the appropriate training have succeeded.

When it's implemented, the military expects to see women pass at approximately the same rate as they did the old APFT.

Why does anyone want to argue in advance and against all evidence that women who've been trained will still be unable to do leg tucks?
  #83  
Old 10-10-2019, 01:35 PM
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I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that the pass rates for trained women - while presumably being higher - will be no better than those for untrained women relative to men. Unless you are aware of some evidence that womens' physical abilities improve more with training than mens'.
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Old 10-10-2019, 02:28 PM
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If that one specific test is really testing overall physical ability, Really Not All That Bright, you might be right; though it seems unlikely that it's doing that, as women did at least as well on all the other such tests; and it's also possible that female recruits tend to be less fit relative to their own individual capabilities than men are, at the time of first being recruited.

If it's testing specifically the ability to climb and/or to lift weights without injuring oneself: even if it's a good test for the muscles used in doing that, we'd need to see results and statistics on how well trained women climb and/or how often they injure themselves relative to how well trained men climb and how often they injure themselves; because having more or less of this particular physical strength is only one of the factors affecting either of those things.

If it's testing the ability to move one's body in a particular fashion that, because of differences in body weight distribution and/or hip structure, is much harder for most women to do than for most men: then it probably isn't testing grip or core strength equally for the genders and women who fail the test may have as much of those abilities as men who pass it. For one thing training in how to perform that specific movement might well cause the women to catch up to the men; and for another being able or unable to accomplish that particular movement may be not relevant to whether women can accomplish the actual work they'll be expected to do.

And, of course, I repeat: we don't know whether there's some other area(s) of training entirely in which women, at least before training, do statistically better than men.
  #85  
Old 10-10-2019, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by nelliebly View Post
I'm going to keep saying this until it gets across.

The new APFT is not in use yet. The data cited in the OP is from personnel who were not yet trained.

Just like the current APFT, the new APFT will determine whether personnel who have been through the appropriate training have succeeded.

When it's implemented, the military expects to see women pass at approximately the same rate as they did the old APFT.

Why does anyone want to argue in advance and against all evidence that women who've been trained will still be unable to do leg tucks?
The leg tuck isn't some kind of new exercise that was just introduced for this test. The leg tuck is Excersie 4 of Climbing Drill 1 (CD1). That's been part of the Army's Physical Readiness Training (PRT) for [i]years[i]!! Every soldier is supposed to be doing PRT every morning. If they were doing it properly, then the CD 1 should be popping up in the schedule once a week--at least once every other week. Even in units that are not conducting proper PRT (pretty much all of them--hence the issue), every soldier who went to Basic Training in the last ten years was exposed to proper PRT, including CD1 which involved ten 5-10 repetitions of the leg tuck. So lack of familiarity with the exercise is not an excuse.
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Old 10-10-2019, 04:41 PM
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Bear_Nenno, thank you for the insights you bring to this thread. Really great posts!
  #87  
Old 10-10-2019, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by thorny locust View Post
Again, what actual necessary skill is the leg tuck testing for that is not tested by any of the deadlift, power throw, pushup, sprint drag carry, or two mile run? And if it's the ability to climb, what does the amount of leg swinging have to do with it?
It's already been stated, but it isn't testing a "skill". It's testing physical fitness. The Leg Tuck requires a coordinated effort of several major muscles groups, but foremost, the leg tuck is a core exercise. The importance of a strong core cannot be overstated, not just for physical performance, but also injury prevention. Ironically, it's one of the least worked, most neglected parts of the body. I know of more soldiers who fail or struggle with the sit-up event in the current APFT than probably the run and the push-ups combined.
As a drill sergeant, if I really wanted a soldier to suffer, I didn't make him do push-ups, I made him do the Leg Tuck and Twist (not to be confused with the Leg Tuck) or the Bent Leg Body Twist. Those exercises absolutely destroy soldiers. I wouldn't have believe it without experiencing it. I always thought those exercises were comparatively easy. But for whatever reason, even people who spend a lot of time in the gym, who can do lots of push-ups and run really fast... they struggle with those core body exercises.
And people who spend no time in the gym or working out... they're going to struggle even more! And the fact is, that the old APFT, combined with the general overall culture of the Army, did not require female soldiers to perform at the same standard. The gender bias scoring of the old APFT allowed female soldiers to pass while doing less than half the push-ups than their male counterparts, and running several minutes per mile slower.
Human nature being what it is, many people are only going to train to the minimum standard. The minimum standard for females was quite low, and naturally, many (perhaps as much as 84%) were just not training as hard as they should have been to maintain an appropriate level of fitness. They weren't doing it, because nobody--to include the Army as an organization--was forcing them to.
Can women meet the standard? Of course they can. And they will. That's kind of the point here. What this 84% statistic is showing isn't that women can't meet the standard. It's evidence of what many people have been complaining about for quite some time. It's that, while they can meet the standard, the Army hasn't been asking them to. The Army has been saying, "It's okay for you to perform at a much lower fitness standard than is required for your job, because you're a fragile little girl". And many have simply enjoyed that lax attitude. After all, if the Army only asks you to do 20 push-ups, instead of 45 then why bother pushing yourself every morning to reach an unnecessary goal, right?
The test is not sexist and it's not biased. But, when compared to the female scoring standards of the old APFT, this new ACFT is much more difficult. The problem isn't learning or training to perform a particular new skill. The problem is working out and pushing the body to a level of fitness and performance that hasn't been required of females up until now. This is a good thing. It's good for the military and good for female soldiers, and it's a step forward for gender equality. Now that the Army demands more from them, the vast majority of them will step up to the challenge and meet the standards.
So I see this 84% statistic not as a dire warning for the future of the Army or the future of women in the military. I think it shows the failing of our current system and is evidence that a change to something like the ACFT was necessary and prudent. While it's not a perfect test, and I take issue with the logistical hurdles of such a complicated, equipment-centric series of events, I do feel that a new test is needed that is 1) gender neutral, and 2) better tests overall body fitness. The ACFT certainly meets both of those criteria.

I'm starting to ramble here. I hope this made sense.

As for your comment about "leg swing". I'm not sure what you're saying. Swinging the legs is not authorized in that event. One must go from a dead hang, straight to the leg tuck position or the repetition doesn't count. But it's not a bid deal. You have two minutes, and you only have to do one...
  #88  
Old 10-10-2019, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
The minimum standard for females was quite low, and naturally, many (perhaps as much as 84%) were just not training as hard as they should have been to maintain an appropriate level of fitness.
So you're saying that women in the army, currently, are in dramatically worse shape than their male counterparts due to decades of inadequate standards. And the only component of the ACFT that revealed this discrepancy is the leg tuck?

Color me skeptical. If requiring women to do less than half the pushups of their male counterparts resulted in a drastic reduction in women's upper body fitness, why wasn't that revealed on the components of the ACFT that test upper body strength? How is it that these dramatically out-of-shape women were able to do just fine on 5 out of the 6 components of a gender-neutral fitness test?

eta: I'd also like to challenge your assertion that passing the previous APFT required a regimented fitness program. I just compared my AF fitness test scores to the 2019 APFT standards and I was not surprised to find that I, a scrawny out of shape comm guy who doesn't really work out ever, would have passed just fine. Certainly some people need to work at it, but 99% of the time that has to do with being overweight and not lacking in exercise practice. My point is, I don't think male soldiers are out there busting their asses to pass the APFT while women are slacking off. I'm pretty sure everyone of both genders is generally slacking off unless they're overweight or just like working out for other reasons.

Last edited by steronz; 10-10-2019 at 06:16 PM.
  #89  
Old 10-10-2019, 07:05 PM
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So you're saying that women in the army, currently, are in dramatically worse shape than their male counterparts due to decades of inadequate standards. And the only component of the ACFT that revealed this discrepancy is the leg tuck?
No. I didn't say that.

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Color me skeptical. If requiring women to do less than half the pushups of their male counterparts resulted in a drastic reduction in women's upper body fitness, why wasn't that revealed on the components of the ACFT that test upper body strength?
Because the scoring standards were normalized to take into account the fact that it would be gender neutral. It's why the number of push-ups required to pass is now ten! Ten fucking push ups. Yes, they are "hand-release", but it's still only 10! Do you think ten push-ups is closer to the old male standard or the old female standard??

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How is it that these dramatically out-of-shape women were able to do just fine on 5 out of the 6 components of a gender-neutral fitness test?
Because, while it is "gender neutral" it is not "job neutral". And right now, women still make up a very tiny percentage of the "HEAVY" category of occupational specialties. So, while jobs like the infantry are open to women, they are still 99% male. Those males need to do 30 hand release push-ups, compared to the "MODERATE" category jobs which only need to do 10. There is a much greater percentage of women in those jobs than the other. Can you not see how that is going to skew the statistics? You can't just look at the percentages and say, "Women did about the same as men in most of the events" by just looking at pass vs fail. That would only work if the percentages were divided by job category.

Also, think about that one event for a second. It's one repetition. They only need to do one to pass. So either they can do a single leg tuck, or they just can't. It doesn't matter if most of the people who pass can actually do 10 or 12, while the failures can't do any. It's not going to change the percentage of pass vs fail. Even though there is a drastic difference in the level of fitness, you're not going to see it. All you see is a pass or a fail. So you really need to look at the scores that soldiers are getting to get an understanding of what these results indicate. The difference in fitness can't be shown just looking at the percentage of soldiers who can't do a single leg tuck, vs the number who can. That's like using employment index to conclude that 96.5% of Americans are all equally wealthy, because only 3.5% are unemployed. The rest have a job. Doesn't matter if they make billions of dollars or hundreds, it's all the same, right? So doing a single leg tuck doesn't show that someone is the same level of fitness as someone who does 10.
And by the way, the male-dominated HEAVY jobs have to do five times as many leg tucks as the MODERATE category. So you're going to have many male soldiers in the HEAVY category who maybe could do 4 leg tucks, but couldn't get their knees to touch on that 5th one. They're going to be counted as a failure in the statistics. Just like the person who couldn't do a single one. Does it mean they are of equal fitness? Of course not.

As for the other events, like I said, this test was normalized to account for the gender neutrality. The passing run time for this test in the MODERATE category is 21 minutes! For a 27 year old male, the APFT passing score was 16 minutes. For a female, it was 20:30. Again, it doesn't matter if the male soldiers taking the ACFT all ran faster than 15 minutes and all the females ran it in 20 minutes. If you're only looking at pass vs fail, they're both going to be a statistic in the passing side.


Quote:
I'd also like to challenge your assertion that passing the previous APFT required a regimented fitness program.
I didn't say it did. Take your time and read what I wrote. Just because I said that soldiers who only have to do 20 push-ups aren't going to work as hard as those who need to do 45, doesn't imply that it takes a "regimented fitness program" to meet that standard. I just said it takes more effort to do 45 than it does 20. Go ahead and challenge that if you want.


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I just compared my AF fitness test scores to the 2019 APFT standards and I was not surprised to find that I, a scrawny out of shape comm guy who doesn't really work out ever, would have passed just fine.
Good for you!
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Certainly some people need to work at it, but 99% of the time that has to do with being overweight and not lacking in exercise practice.
And how do people get over weight, among other things? Lack of exercise, perhaps?

Quote:
My point is, I don't think male soldiers are out there busting their asses to pass the APFT while women are slacking off. I'm pretty sure everyone of both genders is generally slacking off unless they're overweight or just like working out for other reasons.
Everyone of both genders is generally doing only as much as is demanded from them. Yes, I would agree. And because of the old APFT, females were only asked to do 20 push-ups and run two miles in less than 21 minutes.

Last edited by Bear_Nenno; 10-10-2019 at 07:09 PM.
  #90  
Old 10-13-2019, 09:39 PM
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What did the Soviet Red Army in World War Two do when there was no choice but to fight to the death with every person available? How did they use female soldiers?
  #91  
Old 10-13-2019, 09:58 PM
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And yet the military services make bad decisions about their personnel readiness programs all the time. That the organization that ought to know best has decided so does not make it so.
That may be true, but it kinda reminds of one of Murphey's aphorisms -
The race doesn't always go to the swift, nor the fight to the strong, but that's sure the way to bet.
  #92  
Old 10-14-2019, 11:12 AM
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T

What I wish, what I really wish, is that all the services would put some real thought into the kind of physical demands each particular branch or specialty needs as a minimum threshold, and get some actual PhDs involved (including some who have no military experience whatsoever, to help keep those with a military background honest and force them to back up their assumptions and pre-conceived notions).
add in physiotherapists and kinetics experts - I know some 'old school' exercises are/were counterproductive, as an example one form of situp is now suspect because it can damage the neck, and honestly pushups are hell on wrists ...
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Nothing in the section you quote says what questions they asked the fitness experts. "What are the physical requirements demanded by the 21st-century battlefield?" will yield very different answers than "What tests most effectively correlate to some particular physical requirement we identified in some previous round?"
While they are not common, I can see the need to have our people ready for a 50 mile forced march with full gear, unmounting in field conditions should be trained for - what if you are in wherethefuckarewestan and the rockslide has taken out 5 miles of narrow mountain road and the only way to get to wherever is a 50 mile march with gear, if you don't train for it, you are fucked.
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Originally Posted by AK84 View Post

Lots of ostensibly "rear"and "non combat" troops have found themselves in contact with the enemy, on occassions with some regularity.
mrAru as a Navy submarine auxiliaryman is considered 'substitute infantry' when marines are not available, he trained with various weapons, did PRT including running and at one time took some course in combatives. Did he do anything except topside watch? Nope, but I suppose it was handy he was familiar with weapons for bear watch on ICEX runs ...

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I wonder if there are age-related or injury-related dispensations; some of those things might not be hard for a 22 year old former high school athlete, but they might be pretty tough for a 55 year old Master Sergeant, or a 35 year old Major who busted up his knee. That would be my concern- that they're going to penalize the older soldiers and potentially lose that experience because of aging or service-related injuries.
<shrug> mrAru did the test in his 20th year, at 38 and the numbers he got were maxed out for male 18-22, he used to do his running in combat boots. He consistantly maxed out shooting both long arm and hand gun. I can attest other than shooting for leisure at home on the farm, he did not exercise at all.
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What did the Soviet Red Army in World War Two do when there was no choice but to fight to the death with every person available? How did they use female soldiers?
The did what I personally would do, grab a gun and ammo, get into my husbands pants and boots and go kill the Germans.

Me, I have combat gear, from my days as an armed response guard. Though my pants are actually 70s era utes [way sturdy, cotton vice poly blend, and all olive drab ...] and my coat is one of my Dad's m1943 field jackets, and my body armor is not the newest spiffy plate carrier on the market, and if I needed a helmet, I would have to make due with a WW2 vintage SS helmet my dad 'salvaged', my choice of weapons is based upon the available ammo - a 'salvaged' Sauer and Son 38H my dad 'salvaged' and his issue M1. I would have to find a place to set up a short range 'sniper bed' because my ability for movement is very limited, but I could turkey shoot a unit straggling along in a line not expecting anything. If I was stuck in a town, I would sacrifice my medications and poison my stockpile of booze [we keep a small bar on hand for entertaining] I regularly give a casual demonstration on not ignoring how deadly a little fat lady in a wheelchair can be. If I have a 3 month loadout of my medications, I can terminally deal with between 20 to 40 men depending on if they share [let me pour shots] or if they grab and pig out. [opiods, benzos, colchicine, BP meds that can act as sedatives ... grind everything and combine except the colchicine and dope the booze. Colchicine gets handled separately, the equivalent to 12 pills causes cascading organ failure within 48 hours.]

And physical can be odd - I regularly use a Molle large pack for my luggage, fully packed with my clothing and stuff it weighs around 60 pounds, on crutches if I can get it on and balanced, I can schlep it from car to desk to room in a motel. Thanks to my PT, I can do 50 proper sit ups in 2 minutes [I may be fat, but I have a killer core] My point is if you have time to prepare for specific exercises, you can nail them. I have no doubt that next year the women will be passing because htey will modify which exercises they point on for the test, it is just like our bogus school plan of nobody left behind, they study to the test, not for general knowledge.
  #93  
Old 10-14-2019, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Lumpy View Post
What did the Soviet Red Army in World War Two do when there was no choice but to fight to the death with every person available? How did they use female soldiers?
For much of WWII, the Red Army didn't have much equipment so physical strength wasn't an issue. Soldiers were sharing firearms at the battle of Stalingrad.
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  #94  
Old 10-16-2019, 01:28 PM
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This test, the ACFT, at least in the eyes of the Army, is exactly the result of that "redesigned to test realistic conditions" effort. Again, quoting from the Army's FAQ:

The Army has determined that for Soldiers to be ready for the rigors of operations in a complex environment, they must possess significant physical capacity in the following components of fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, power, speed, agility, cardio endurance, balance, flexibility, coordination and reaction time.
How does this test even TEST some of those attributes? Balance, flexibility, agility, reaction time, and coordination are completely ignored in favor of stuff that men----being bigger and having more muscle mass----have less trouble with than women.

If the military wants to get rid of women, just do it openly and stop pretending. Weight lifting is what this amounts to. That does not make you a good soldier. It makes you a good weight lifter. I guess the linguists, analysts, interrogators (me!), translators, and everybody but the 11Bs can bugger off, then.
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Last edited by margin; 10-16-2019 at 01:29 PM. Reason: a comma
  #95  
Old 10-16-2019, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by margin View Post
How does this test even TEST some of those attributes? Balance, flexibility, agility, reaction time, and coordination are completely ignored in favor of stuff that men----being bigger and having more muscle mass----have less trouble with than women.

If the military wants to get rid of women, just do it openly and stop pretending. Weight lifting is what this amounts to. That does not make you a good soldier. It makes you a good weight lifter. I guess the linguists, analysts, interrogators (me!), translators, and everybody but the 11Bs can bugger off, then.
The leg tuck event is only one of six exercises in the ACFT. Collectively, those six events measure the physical attributes the US Army cares about (among them muscular strength and muscular endurance). The leg tuck event specifically is a measure of "the strength of the Soldiers grip, arm, shoulder and trunk muscles". It seems like it demonstrates some elements of flexibility too (e.g. if one struggles to bend at the elbow, shoulder, back, hip or knee this test would be a significant challenge).

ETA: as has already been mentioned, the test is gender-neutral, but job-specific, so someone like an interrogator might not be expected to meet the same demanding physical fitness standards that are expected of an infantryman.

Last edited by HurricaneDitka; 10-16-2019 at 02:03 PM.
  #96  
Old 10-16-2019, 03:21 PM
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ETA: as has already been mentioned, the test is gender-neutral, but job-specific, so someone like an interrogator might not be expected to meet the same demanding physical fitness standards that are expected of an infantryman.
Correct. In order to pass the ACFT, a 35M Human Intelligence Collector is only required to dead lift 70% of the weight, throw the medicine ball 56% of the distance, do 30% of the push ups, 20% of the leg tucks, and run the 2 miles 85% as fast as an 11B Infantryman.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bump
And seriously.. have you read the tests and the criteria? ANY twenty-something person who is in good shape ought to be able to handle passing that test without a problem, or should be able to get in that kind of shape without too much issue.
True. But don't underestimate it's difficulty. Part of the challenge is the fact that the entire test must be completed in under 90 minutes. So there is only a few minutes rest between events. Doing the leg tuck after having exerted your maximum effort into the dead lift and the push-ups isn't the same as just randomly walking up to a bar and knocking out a couple reps. And then after having expended effort in all of the events, one must complete the 2-mile run. So run times are going to be slower than what people are used to. The maximum score on the run is now 13.5 minutes, where it used to be 13 flat for a 17-22 year old male soldier. So there is going to be a little bit of energy management that soldiers will need to get used to, which will come with experience from taking a few diagnostic tests. No doubt, some soldiers failed a later event because they put all of their effort into trying to max the dead lift. After doing three repetitions of 340 lbs, the Sprint Drag Carry isn't as easy as it looks. But then, after maxing that in under a minute and a half, how much energy is left over for the run? Most soldiers I know aren't looking to pass. They're looking to score the highest they possibly can.

Quote:
I wonder if there are age-related or injury-related dispensations; some of those things might not be hard for a 22 year old former high school athlete, but they might be pretty tough for a 55 year old Master Sergeant, or a 35 year old Major who busted up his knee. That would be my concern- that they're going to penalize the older soldiers and potentially lose that experience because of aging or service-related injuries.
There are no longer any age-related differences in scoring. However, at a certain rank (nominative sergeant major, I believe) a person only has to pass at "Moderate" standard, regardless of occupational specialty. And for those with permanent injuries there are alternate events.

Last edited by Bear_Nenno; 10-16-2019 at 03:22 PM.
  #97  
Old 10-16-2019, 06:14 PM
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The name "leg tuck" is really misleading.


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