By Debbie Gregory.
The U.S. Army has launched a new physical fitness dubbed the Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) to weed out new recruits and soldiers that fall short of the physical demands of certain jobs.
Job specialties are being divided into three physical demand categories: Heavy (Black), Significant (Gray), Moderate (Gold).
Category Black is for military occupational specialties (MOSs) with heavy physical demands, like those of the combat arms branches that require lifting or moving 99 pounds or more. Category Gray is for MOSs with significant physical demands that require frequent or constant lifting of 41 to 99 pounds and occasional tasks involving moving up to 100 pounds. Category Gold is for MOSs with moderate physical demands, such as cyber, that require frequent or constant lifting of weights up to 40 pounds or when all physical demands are occasional.
OPAT measures muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, explosive power and speed. It consists of four individual tests: standing long jump, seated power throw, strength deadlift, and interval aerobic run.
The test will be administered to everyone coming into the service — officer, enlisted, active, Reserve and National Guard, after the soldier swears in but before he or she begins training.
“OPAT is not designed to turn away or weed out people from the Army,” said Brian Sutton, a spokesman for U.S. Army Recruiting Command. “It is designed to put the right people in the right jobs and to ensure we keep our recruits safe while doing so.”
Scoring is gender neutral, upholding the same physical standards for both men and women.
U.S. Army Recruiting Command estimates the test will be administered each year to about 80,000 recruits and thousands of cadets.