Rethinking “Physical Readiness” in the Modern Military


In 2009 the United State Marine Corps formally implemented the Combat Fitness Test (CFT).  The CFT was a departure from decades of stale physical readiness thinking.  For the first time the US military had a test which incorporated performance related components of fitness which were modeled on the rigors of combat.

Now, Commander David Peterson, who currently serves as the Executive Officer, Physical Education Department, and as the Director, Human Performance Laboratory at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, has published his recommendation for a new and improved US Navy physical fitness test. 

Hopefully the right people take notice and this becomes another step in the right direction.

Modernizing the Navy’s Physical Readiness Test: Introducing the Navy General Fitness Test and Navy Operational Fitness Test

Published by: United States Sports Academy in Contemporary Sports Issues

Submitted by: CDR D. D. Peterson1* MSC USN, E.d.D, CSCS*D

The lessons learned from recent combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have shown operational commanders that the military fitness tests currently used by the different services are inadequate in terms of assessing the physical fitness required for combat.  Currently, only the U.S. Marine Corps employs a combat specific fitness test; although the U.S. Army and Air Force have recognized the need and rationale for one as well. Unfortunately, the U.S. Navy continues to lag behind the other services in terms of modernizing its physical fitness training and testing programs.  The purpose of this article is four-fold:  1) justify the need for service-specific combat fitness tests, 2) discuss past and current examples service-specific combat fitness tests, 3) introduce a revised general fitness test intended to replace the current Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT), and 4) propose an operational fitness test that could be adopted and employed by the U.S. Navy.

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