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Army’s New Physical Fitness Test Will Be Gender-Neutral, Secretary Says


The Army plans to take a step ahead in eliminating the army gender hole by requiring women and men to satisfy the identical requirements on the service’s proposed new bodily health check.

Army Secretary Mark Esper advised reporters on Thursday that he believes the brand new check ought to have each gender- and age-neutral requirements “because the enemy does not specify who they’re going to shoot and not shoot. Combat is combat.”

Esper lined a variety of different subjects through the Pentagon information convention, together with the opportunity of lowering the Army’s presence in Kuwait to offer troopers extra dwell time at residence between deployments.

On health, Esper didn’t present any particulars on what the brand new check would entail, however he reiterated that female and male troopers must meet the identical bodily requirements.

“That’s the direction we’re moving in: a gender-neutral physical fitness test,” he stated. “By the way, the women I’ve talked to want that.”

The Defense Department permits every of the providers to set completely different requirements for troops primarily based on gender and age. But final yr’s Marines United scandal confirmed that many male service members really feel girls within the army aren’t worthy of respect as a result of they don’t seem to be required to be as sturdy and quick as males.

For the present Army Physical Fitness Test, male troopers between 17 and 21 years previous should full 71 pushups inside two minutes, run two miles in 13 minutes, and full 78 situps to get excellent scores. Female troopers in the identical age vary should do 42 pushups, full the two-mile run in 15 minutes and 36 seconds, and in addition do 78 sit ups to get full credit score on every occasion.

The double requirements lead male service members to imagine that feminine troops are much less bodily succesful than males, when in reality girls within the army have been requested to do much less for many years, stated retired Marine Lt. Col. Kate Germano, who was accountable for coaching feminine Marine recruits at Parris Island.

“I saw first-hand on recruiting duty and at Parris Island that when women were held to higher standards for performance, they rose to the challenge every time,” Germano advised Task & Purpose. “The rate at which women Marines are excelling at doing pull ups is a great example of this.”

An advocate for gender equality throughout the army as an entire, Germano has authored an upcoming e book, “Fight Like A Girl,” about her experiences attempting to enhance the bodily efficiency of girls within the Marine Corps. (She was relieved of command at Parris Island for making a poisonous atmosphere, however she and her supporters declare she suffered retaliation for pushing feminine recruits to satisfy the identical requirements as males.)

“Women in all of the services are proving they have what it takes to get stronger and faster,” Germano stated, “and making the physical fitness test gender neutral will not only hold everyone to the same high standards, but will go far to eliminate both negative perceptions about the capabilities of women and mistrust due to double standards for their performance.”

Soldiers load a 120 mm High Explosive Anti-Tank Training Round onto an M1A2 Abrams Tank in Kuwait, July 10, 2017.

During Thursday’s information convention, Esper additionally stated the Army’s deployment-to-dwell ratio is now near 1:1, which means troopers aren’t getting sufficient time at residence. One purpose for the excessive operational tempo is the Army is rotating brigade fight groups by means of Europe and Korea whereas troopers are nonetheless engaged in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

To ease the pressure, Esper stated he has talked with protection officers about curbing deployments and coaching missions that aren’t important.

“An example is we have an IBCT [infantry brigade combat team] deployed in Kuwait,” Esper stated. “Can we get relief from that mission and bring that unit home so we can get its readiness up to a higher level; put it in the queue for more important deployments out there; and really increase that deploy-to-dwell time to something higher than 1:1?”

The Army shouldn’t be contemplating withdrawing from Kuwait altogether, stated Esper, who has talked with the Joint Staff and the Army’s operations employees about reviewing the service’s commitments in a number of theaters.

“It may not necessarily mean pulling anything; it may mean keeping a battalion [in Kuwait]; or it may mean a different rotation schedule – maybe you’re not there full time,” Esper stated. “It’s something we have to look at if we’re going to try to reduce the deployment churn and increase the readiness of our units.”

When requested if a Marine unit might probably deploy to Kuwait as a substitute of an Army brigade, Esper stated: “I’m not sure that helps the Marines, but that would be an option.”

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