The United States Army has released a new physical fitness test to determine whether or not new recruits will be able to put up with the physical demands of certain roles. The new Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) will be mandatory for all recruits and will determine whether they are fit for jobs such as infantry or armor specialties.
Approximately 80,000 recruits will take the test each year to determine whether or not they are fit for certain military occupational specialties (MOSs).
Retention and Reclassification Branch chief for U.S. Army Human Resources Command Jim Bragg released a press release stating that the new test will break job specialties down into three different categories: Heavy (Black), Significant (Gray), Moderate (Gold).
Black MOSs will be the most demanding. To attain a “Black” mark on the OPAT soldiers must be able to attain a minimum of 5 feet, 3 inches, for the standing long jump; 14 feet, 9 inches, for the seated power throw; 160 pounds for the strength deadlift; and a 10:14 minute mile over the course of 43 shuttles. The soldier must also be able to move and lift 99 pounds or more.
The Significant MOS rating will be the second most demanding. It will require recruits to attain a minimum of 4 feet, 7 inches, for the standing long jump; 13 feet, 1 inch, for the seated power throw; 140 pounds for the strength deadlift; and a 10:20 minute mile over the course of 40 shuttles. Soldiers will need to be able to lift and move objects weighing from 41 to 99 pounds to obtain a “Gray” mark.
Gold has the lightest requirements. Soldiers must attain at a minimum, 3 feet, 11 inches, for the standing long jump; 11 feet, 6 inches, for the seated power throw; 120 pounds for the strength deadlift; and, a 10:27 minute mile over the course of 36 shuttles.
Brian Sutton, a spokesman for U.S. Army Recruiting Command, addressed concerns that the test is being used to “weed out” recruits or deny certain individuals entry into the armed services.
“OPAT is not designed to turn away or weed out people from the Army,” Sutton said. “It is designed to put the right people in the right jobs and to ensure we keep our recruits safe while doing so.”
If a new recruit fails the OPAT test, they may request to retake it. If the recruit is unable to achieve the color designator for their desired role they may be required to renegotiate their contract to a MOS with a lower color designator.