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Army Combat Fitness Test Set to Become New PT Test of Record in Late 2020

Monday, July 9th, 2018

FORT EUSTIS, Va. — Army senior leaders have approved a new strenuous fitness test designed to better prepare Soldiers for combat tasks, reduce injuries and lead to ample cost savings across the service.

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The six-event readiness assessment, called the Army Combat Fitness Test, is intended to replace the current three-event Army Physical Fitness Test, which has been around since 1980.

Beginning October 2020, all Soldiers will be required to take the new gender- and age-neutral test. Before that, field testing set to begin this October will allow the Army to refine the test, with initial plans for up to 40,000 Soldiers from all three components to see it.

“The Army Combat Fitness Test will ignite a generational, cultural change in Army fitness and become a cornerstone of individual Soldier combat readiness,” said Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commander of the Army’s Center of Initial Military Training. “It will reduce attrition and it will reduce musculoskeletal injuries and actually save, in the long run, the Army a heck of a lot of money.”

At least six years of significant research went into the test’s development as researchers looked at what Soldiers must do fitness-wise for combat.

“Throughout that research and testing, the goal was to provide our leaders with a tough, realistic, field-expedient assessment of the physical component of their Soldiers’ individual readiness,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey. “The ACFT is scientifically-validated and will help better prepare our Soldiers to deploy, fight, and win on any future battlefield.”

Roughly 2,000 Soldiers have already taken the test, previously called the Army Combat Readiness Test. They also provided feedback as part of the Army Training and Doctrine Command and Forces Command pilots that began last year at several installations.

“The current PT test is only a 40 percent predictor of success for performing in combat and executing warrior tasks and battle drills,” Frost said. “This test is approximately an 80 percent predictor of performing based on our ability to test the physical components of combat fitness.”

SIX EVENTS

While the ACFT still keeps the 2-mile run as its final event, it introduces five others to provide a broad measurement of a Soldier’s physical fitness. The events are completed in order and can take anywhere from 45 to 55 minutes for a Soldier to finish.

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— Strength deadlift: With a proposed weight range of 120 to 420 pounds, the deadlift event is similar to the one found in the Occupational Physical Assessment Test, or OPAT, which is given to new recruits to assess lower-body strength before they are placed into a best-fit career field. The ACFT will require Soldiers to perform a three-repetition maximum deadlift (only one in OPAT) and the weights will be increased. The event replicates picking up ammunition boxes, a wounded battle buddy, supplies or other heavy equipment.

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— Standing power throw: Soldiers toss a 10-pound ball backward as far as possible to test muscular explosive power that may be needed to lift themselves or a fellow Solider up over an obstacle or to move rapidly across uneven terrain.

— Hand-release pushups: In this event, Soldiers start in the prone position and do a traditional pushup, but when at the down position they release their hands and arms from contact with the ground and then reset to do another pushup. This allows for additional upper body muscles to be exercised.

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— Sprint/drag/carry: As they dash 25 meters five times up and down a lane, Soldiers will perform sprints, drag a sled weighing 90 pounds, and then hand-carry two 40-pound kettlebell weights. This can simulate pulling a battle buddy out of harm’s way, moving quickly to take cover, or carrying ammunition to a fighting position or vehicle.

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— Leg tuck: Similar to a pullup, Soldiers lift their legs up and down to touch their knees/thighs to their elbows as many times as they can. This exercise strengthens the core muscles since it doubles the amount of force required compared to a traditional situp.

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— 2-mile run: Same event as on the current test. In the ACFT, run scores are expected to be a bit slower due to all of the other strenuous activity.

The ACFT gauges Soldiers on the 10 components of physical fitness: muscular strength and endurance, power, speed, agility, aerobic endurance, balance, flexibility, coordination and reaction time. The current test only measures two: muscular and aerobic endurance.

TEST SCORING

The vast majority of policies with the APFT will likely be carried over to the new test.

Scoring could be similar with 100 points for each event for a maximum of 600. Minimum scores, however, may change depending on a Soldier’s military occupational specialty. Soldiers in more physically demanding jobs may see tougher minimums, similar to how OPAT evaluates new recruits.

“The more physically challenging your MOS, the more you’ll be required to do at the minimum levels,” said Michael McGurk, director of research and analysis at CIMT.

Another difference is that there are no alternate events planned for this test, he said.

Soldiers will still get adequate time to rehabilitate from an injury. But under a new “deploy-or-be-removed” policy, Defense Secretary James Mattis said in February that troops who are non-deployable for more than 12 months will be processed for administrative separation or referred to the disability evaluation system.

“Generally speaking, somebody who has a long-term permanent profile that precludes taking a fitness test may not be retainable for duty in the Army,” McGurk said.

At about $20 million, the new test will be more costly for the Army to conduct. A single lane of equipment at full retail value is about $1,200. A battalion set of equipment will range from $12,000 to $20,000. Those prices will likely drop as the Army buys more sets at wholesale.

Equipment should last about 10 years, meaning it will cost less than $3 per Soldier over time.

“If I have a femoral neck fracture in the hip of a Soldier, that injury will cost the government about $1 million,” McGurk said. “So, if I avoid 20 of those injuries a year I’ve paid for the program for the next 10 years for equipment. The potentials on return are very significant.”

COST AVOIDANCE

The Army estimates $4 billion is spent each year due to injuries, non-deployable Soldiers, accidents and other health-related costs.

As part of its culture change, the Army is building a Holistic Health and Fitness System to produce healthier and fitter Soldiers. The new test is one piece of the system, in addition to the OPAT, the improvement of fitness centers, and healthier options at chow halls.

Army researchers studied foreign militaries that have rolled out similar holistic programs and found them to be highly successful.

The Australian army, for instance, introduced it to their basic training and saw a roughly 30 percent reduction in injuries.

“Do I know we’re going to have a 25-30 percent reduction? No, but I certainly hope we will,” McGurk said. “We think [the test is] well worth it and it’s the right thing to do for Soldiers in any case.”

Feedback from Soldiers so far has also been overwhelmingly positive.

“As we all know, physical fitness training can become rather monotonous if people train the same way,” McGurk said. “So, a lot of them saw this as a great change and how it required them to use different muscles.”

While some Soldiers may disagree with replacing the current test, McGurk said that fitness has come a long way from 40 years ago when the APFT was first developed.

“In 1980, running shoes were relatively a new invention,” he said. “The Army was still running in boots for the PT test back then. Change is difficult, but we’re an Army that adapts well to change.”

ARMY VISION

In early June, senior leaders outlined what the Army should focus on over the next decade to retain overmatch against potential adversaries.

The 2028 vision statement, signed by the Army’s secretary and chief of staff, calls for modernized equipment, particularly the development of autonomous systems. It also stresses the need for physically fit and mentally tough Soldiers to fight and win in high-intensity conflict.

“Technology is going to be dominant and we need a lot of things that we’re looking at through modernization,” Frost said. “In the end, you still need the United States Army Soldier to be able to seize and hold terrain.”

The ACFT is a foundational method, leaders believe, that the Army can use to start a new era of fitness and obtain Soldier overmatch in combat.

“The current leadership … has really coalesced and understands the importance of fitness itself and the importance of the PT test to drive that change in culture,” Frost said. “They’ve made the decision and we’re ready to execute.”

By Sean Kimmons, Army News Service

BCM Training Tip – From the Range to the Real World

Thursday, July 5th, 2018

Bravo Company brings some great info from Larry Vickers.

Tripwire Operations Group Launches F.I.R.S.T. Division

Thursday, June 28th, 2018

New Division Challenges the Status Quo of Current Homicide Investigation Practices, Teaches Outdoor Crime Scene Reconstruction
Gettysburg, PA – June 28, 2018 – Tripwire Operations Group announces the launch of its all-new F.I.R.S.T. Division. F.I.R.S.T. – Forensic. Investigation. Research. Services. Training. – offers a variety of short courses in the areas of forensic anthropology, outdoor crime scene reconstruction, forensic scene mapping, mass disaster scene processing, disaster morgue protocols, cold case reviews, and scene mapping of actual forensic scenes. F.I.R.S.T. courses challenge the current crime scene investigation status quo and instead teach the importance of crime scene reconstruction to fully understand how a death event occurred. The Division is run by forensic anthropology and archaeology consultants for Tripwire Operations Group, Dennis Dirkmaat, Ph.D., D-ABFA, and FBI Special Agent Michael Hochrein (ret).

“We’re proud to have Dennis and Mike as a part of the team at Tripwire. They’re the best at what they do and are giving medical examiners and first responders a more accurate way to conduct an outdoor homicide investigation,” said Ryan J. Morris, owner, Tripwire Operations Group. “There’s no one else out there bringing this type and level of training to first responders. The F.I.R.S.T. Division is a natural expansion for us as we continue to set the standard for high-quality training for first responders across the country and internationally.”

Dirkmaat and Hochrein take a different approach to outdoor crime scene reconstruction and homicide investigation, going beyond standard law enforcement procedures to put crime scenes into context.

“There are simply too many ‘agents,’ such as animals, weather, water, snow, and humans, at an outdoor crime scene that can alter evidence after a death event takes place. And each manipulation of that evidence, be it from animals or weather or other factors, can have a profound effect on the types of conclusions we can draw, and further, may impact our understanding of how that individual died,” explained Dirkmaat. “We’re here to educate and inform law enforcement officers and medical examiners as to the importance of reconstructing, and thereby fully understanding, an outdoor crime scene.”

A recently completed F.I.R.S.T. Division course taught to a group of medical examiners from Kazakhstan is currently featured on the Tripwire blog. Visit the blog to learn more about this group of students and the best practices they’re returning home to implement.

F.I.R.S.T Division courses are scheduling now for Fall 2018. For more information and to register, visit: tripwireops.org/events.

Follow Tripwire Operations Group on Instagram @tripwire_operations_group and on Facebook @TripwireOperationsGroup to learn more about available classes and how to register.

SureFire Field Notes Ep 27, CQB with Dan Brokos

Tuesday, June 26th, 2018

SureFire Field Notes is a multi-segment informational video series with tips and techniques from subject matter experts of all backgrounds. In this episode, Dan Brokos of Lead Faucet Tactical discusses the fundamentals of CQB.

Dan Brokos has 26 years of service and 21 years in the SF community. A vast majority of Brokos SF time has been with Crisis Response Force that specializing in DA and the skills of advanced marksmanship and CQB. Brokos has had only 2 breaks from being operational. He has served as the NCOIC for SF advanced marksmanship and CQB course and as the Company SGM for the SF sniper course and aforementioned Advanced marksmanship/CQB course. Brokos and all his Instructors were Senior Leaders somewhere throughout the SOF community. Lead Faucet Tactical (LFT) offers relevant and realistic gunfighting in a variety of courses focusing around fighting with your carbine and pistol day and night. They offer several shooting and CQB courses for LE, Military and Civilians.

www.surefire.com

Tardigrade Tactical – Higgs-Boson Weight Vest

Monday, June 25th, 2018

This is the Higgs-Boson weight vest, designed from the inside and out for a perfect fit, comfort and ergonomics in mind.

They started this Made in Denmark project by designing the Boson steel plates, based on triple curved, “swimmers-cut” ballistic plates.

Each plate weighs 4.25 kg.

Then, they designed the Plate Carrier for a user friendly and intuitive experience.

www.tardigradetactical.dk

Air Force Specialty Code 14F – Information Operations Officer

Saturday, June 23rd, 2018

In mid-May Chief Of Staff of the Air Force, Gen Dave Goldfein awarded four officers the new Information Operations occupational badge. Although it’s hard to see in this photo, it features a Trojan Horse, long associated with deception in war. In fact, the practitioners of this field, also have a new Air Force Specifically Code, 14F to go along with the badge. In the past, these functions were performed generally by Intelligence Officers (AFSC 14N), unrated Staff Officers (16G), and Behavioral Scientists (61B) based on ad-hoc training for duty positions.

This is an officer AFSC which uses information-related capabilities to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp the decision making of selected audiences to create desired effects.

Currently, part of their qualification includes attending Military Information Support Operations aka PSYOPS training with the Army at Ft Bragg, as well as Courses in Tactical Deception and Operations Security.

However, the Air Force is standing up a new schoolhouse at Hurlburt Field, Florida, which is coincidentally the headquarters of the Air Force Special Operations Command. A new 15-week course will come online in 2019 and focus specifically on the Air Force application of IO.

The careerfield itself remains small, but there are multiple IO Squadrons within the Air Force which conduct a wide variety of intelligence functions. This is sure to lead to confusion about the specialized focus of the 14F AFSC.

Photos via CSAF twitter feed.

Defoor Proformance Shooting 1st Qtr 2019 Course Calendar Opens Tomorrow

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Giving everyone a heads up, Defoor Proformance Shooting’s first quarter 2019 classes will be available at 0630 Eastern, tomorrow morning. Kyle promises new, proven curriculum for 2019 plus some surprises.

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Historically, classes fill quickly. There will be full sellouts in 3 of the 5 locations within minutes of posting. The other two dangerously close from what they’ve been told by the hosts.

defoor-proformance-shooting.myshopify.com

Colonial Shooting Academy Announces Matt Jacques As Director Of Tactical Training

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

How You Train Matters. That’s Why Colonial Shooting Academy Is Happy To Welcome Matt Jacques To The Richmond, VA Team

Richmond, VA, June 19, 2018 – Colonial Shooting Academy has added a heavy-hitter to their tactical training division. Matt Jacques has been hired as Colonial Shooting Academy’s Director of Tactical Training, and has added a handful of new courses to their civilian course lineup. Matt is a retired Police Detective and Marine Corps veteran. Matt spent part of his military enlistment within HMX-1, The Presidential Helicopter Squadron, served within the Military Police MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), and after his military service, continued in civilian Law Enforcement.

Matt served with two Virginia Law Enforcement agencies and filled several billets. During his tenure, he served assignments as a Basic Academy Recruit Instructor, Field Training Officer, undercover detective within the Special Problems Unit, as well as a founding Special Deputy of the U.S. Marshal Capital Area Fugitive Task Force for the Washington D.C. U.S. Marshal’s Office.

Matt served several years on a large Northern Virginia Police Department SWAT team as an entry team member and later was selected and served as a Sniper team member until his retirement, due to a line of duty incident. After his retirement, Matt was hired as the Senior Manager of Weapons for FNH USA. He was involved in the FN SPR Precision Rifle program; FN Belt fed Weapons section and the SOCOM SCAR program. Matt was tasked with the user evaluations and New Equipment Training (NET) for SOCOM and the SCAR family of weapons. Matt left FNH USA and returned to training Law Enforcement as a Firearms Instructor for The US Department of State Firearms Training Unit within the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Matt was tasked with firearms training of Federal Agents for Diplomatic Security both stateside and worldwide.

“We’re excited to have Matt onboard at Colonial Shooting Academy. He is a welcomed addition to our team and has really brought a robustness and focus to our Tactical Training division here in Richmond,“ said Reese Haller, Education & Training Director at Colonial Shooting Academy. “Colonial Shooting Academy has an excellent facility that I am excited to utilize. Having the Shoot House and the Tactical Range at my disposal really allows for creativity and effective training. The more safe, educated and responsible gun owners out there, the better. Let’s not forget that shooting is also extremely fun,” said Matt Jacques. “This perspective is perfectly in- line with our philosophy at Colonial Shooting Academy (RVA), combine that with Matt’s background and we should have a winning combination,” said General Manager Thomas Lacy. If you are interested in meeting Matt Jacques, Colonial Shooting Academy’s newest team member, come to the Richmond location at 6020 W. Broad Street, 23230 this Saturday from 3:30pm – 5:00pm. Learn more about Colonial Shooting Academy’s new classes on their website: www.colonialshooting.com/rva/train-with-matt-jacques.