The Army just threw 21 years of standard practice out the door, and left us really confused. They unveiled a new PT test (which stands for Physical Readiness Training) today to take the place of a test from 1980. The new test will "align the training and the tests with tasks that Soldiers have to perform on the battlefield."
Holy automatic weapons, Batman. You mean they haven't been training soldiers for battle conditions all along? Apparently not. And they still won't. Well, not if you look at the fine print in the Army's press release about the new PT test:
The pilot currently plans to align age categories for the test scores with the American College of Sports Medicine and Cooper Institute, broadening age categories to under 30, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60 and above, for both genders.
Let's sum this up quickly. The military is going to finally start aligning soldiers' training with battlefield expectations. But not every soldier is going to have the same training. Old fogies and women will do something else entirely from youngsters and the guys.
Color me confused, but if the training is to get everyone ready for battle, how can different tests possibly make everyone combat ready? I always thought combat readiness was pretty black and white. You know how to work a gun. You know how to listen to your commanding officer. You're physically in good shape, etc. Either you are ready, or you're not. There is no "well, you're as prepared as a woman who is 34 can be" or "you're as prepared as a guy who is 19 can be."
I'm getting the sense that this is yet another sign that women aren't going to be considered "good enough" to go into the same battles as men (as if we haven't been down this road enough times). But this isn't just a feminist fight. As an American, I'm perturbed that the Army doesn't want every person defending my country to be able to pass the same test.
And lest you think I'm being selfish, I'm a "support the troops girl" all the way. I'm disturbed on behalf of those servicemen and women. If they're not required to pass a standard test, how can you tell me they're combat ready? How can you tell me they belong on a battlefield? By their own admission, the Army just said they won't be prepped ... at least not in the same way as their colleagues. And that's not fair to our servicemembers.
Members of our Armed Forces have been calling for a revamp for a long time. Kudos to the Army for listening. But maybe they need to go back to the drawing board.
Do you think there should be a one-size-fits-all test? Is there a better way to handle this?
Image via The U.S. Army/Flickr