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The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) and Promotion Points

As you may already know, the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) replaces the APFT as the Army's physical fitness test of record beginning October 1, 2020.

Transition From APFT to ACFT

The APFT has been our test of record for more than 40 years. The Army's physical fitness test must be based in science and accurately predict a Soldier's ability to fight and win in multi-domain operations. The ACFT does so and will become the test of record. It is my intent that the transition to the ACFT will not adversely affect any Soldier or group. The Army will continue to collect performance data and assess standards and requirements to ensure the ACFT best meets the needs of the Army and Soldiers.

The Army will no longer conduct the APFT after 9/30/2020. The only exception is articulated in AR 350-1, paragraph F-Sk, for Soldiers who failed their last record APFT.

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How Long a Passing APFT Score Can Be Used After 9/30/2020

A passing score on the last record APFT remains valid until 31 March 2022 for any purpose requiring a passing APFT or score, including, but not limited to, professional military education, functional courses, or operational course credit consideration.

Impact of Moving to the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT)

No adverse administrative actions (such as flags, separation, denial of appointment/commissioning, derogatory/referred evaluation reports, and Order of Merit List Standings) will be taken against a Soldier based on failing the ACFT until further guidance is published. A Soldier's score, or comments regarding performance on the ACFT, will not be used administratively (such as the Officer or Non-commissioned Officer Evaluation Reports, Academic Evaluation Report, Enlisted Record Brief, Soldier Record Brief, or Officer Record Brief) or considered as part of a semi-centralized or centralized promotion board process until further guidance is published.

Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) and Promotion Points Impact

Since promotion points are part of the Army's semi-centralized promotion board process, it is unclear if or how points will be treated in terms of the 800-point system.

Army Directive 2020-06 (Army Combat Fitness Test) seems to suggest that any APFT passing score can be used for promotion points until 3/31/2022.

Additional clarity from the Army is needed to understand how those who do not have a passing score on the APFT, as of 9/30/2020, will be treated for future promotion board consideration. There is indication that a soldier who failed the APFT will be allowed to retest after 9/30/2020, but there are still many procedural questions that remain. This seems a bit risky to me and should not be taken lightly by those soldiers' who may have a failing score as the ACFT transition occurs on 10/1/2020.

It will certainly be interesting to see how the Army manages the transition from the APFT to ACFT and the steps taken to not negatively impact soldiers currently competing for Army Promotion Points and promotion to SGT / E-5 or SSG / E-6.

Possibilities and Options for Promotion Points

In my opinion, the Army has to publish hyper-clear guidance on how soldiers' promotion points will be affected by this transition.

To me, clarity would include the answers to the following questions:

  1. Will my last record APFT score continue to be used for promotion points until 3/31/2022?  What will happen then?
  2. Will the ACFT count for promotion points after 9/30/2020?
  3. Will the current APFT bucket of promotion points be eliminated and reduce the overall 800-points that are available today?

These are just a few of the things I think about, I am sure their are many more to consider as well.

The Future impact of the ACFT on Promotion Points

Right now, the future impact of how the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) will affect soldiers' promotion packet and points status remains unclear.

The best thing for Soldiers' to do is ensure they have a current passing score on the APFT prior to 9/30/2020. If you don't have a test currently scheduled and you can get it done by this date, I would definitely consider it.

It will be even more important to lock in the highest possible score on this final APFT. Given the unknown's, it's important to capture as many promotion points as possible just in case your score is used for the foreseeable future to calculate your promotion points.

Although the future is not completely clear, you can minimize the potential impact it has on you through intentional and proactive decision making.

Don't get caught flat-footed here, ask questions and respond accordingly to protect your future interests and growth.

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