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In Latest Blow to Military Effectiveness, U.S. Navy Will No Longer Require Sailors to Pass Physical Fitness Tests



Old standard forcing sailors out after 2 failed PT tests rescinded; Navy claims new rule has nothing to do with recruiting challenges.

It has long been the case that U.S. Navy officers and sailors were required to pass twice-yearly physical fitness tests consisting of core (sit-ups, or more recently, forearm plank), upper body (pushups), and cardiovascular endurance (1.5 mile run or other equivalent cardio) testing.

Until recently, sailors had two chances to pass the PT test, but after that, they were forced out鈥攏ot immediately, but forced out in the sense that they would no longer be allowed to re-enlist or be promoted, so they would eventually be forced to separate from active duty, in most cases short of their 20-year retirement eligibility.

But now that is all changed. has the story:聽Sailors Who Fail 2 Consecutive Fitness Tests Will No Longer Face the End of Their Career, Navy Says:

Sailors who fail two consecutive fitness assessments will no longer automatically have their聽Navy聽careers brought to an end, according to a new service policy unveiled this week.

Under the old system, sailors who failed one physical fitness assessment, or PFA, lost their ability to be promoted until they were able to pass another test, but their careers would largely proceed onward. However, failing another consecutive PFA would end a career by taking away the ability to be promoted or to reenlist.

The Navy will now allow those career-ending actions to come at the discretion of a sailor鈥檚 commanding officer instead of a fleet-wide mandate, the service said聽in an administrative message explaining the new policy聽that was sent out Tuesday.

I can tell you that as a former Commanding Officer of an operational attack submarine, constantly dealing with manning shortages, that it would have been awfully tempting to let a sailor slide on their PT test results, rather than losing that person, especially if we were soon departing on deployment.

And that鈥檚 not the only benefit for sailors under the new program.


鈥淐ommanding officers can now evaluate a sailor鈥檚 physical readiness progress or lack of progress in performance evaluations, giving them the ability to manage risk, recognize earnest effort, and best take care of their people,鈥澛Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman, the chief of naval personnel, said in the administrative message.

The new policy says sailors who fail any PFA聽no longer have to have it noted on their annual evaluation聽鈥 though they still lose their advancement eligibility until they are able to pass another test.

Dropping this requirement means that sailors who fail once are聽not necessarily forced to address it聽when applying for programs where their evaluations are considered, which in turn keeps them more competitive.

Meanwhile, enlisted sailors who fail their second consecutive PFA are聽no longer required to receive the lowest possible score in the 鈥淢ilitary Bearing/Professionalism鈥 category and to be denied the ability to reenlist…


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