The short explanation is: if you’re heavier than you should be, or you can’t meet the Army’s physical fitness standards, you’re not going to get into the professional military education, or PME, course you’re scheduled to attend.
The standards had been waived because the Army needed as many Soldiers as possible trained for the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts — but that is no longer the case.
“In 2007, when the Army was fighting two simultaneous conflicts, we instituted a physical fitness waiver for institutional training courses,” said Brig. Gen. Todd McCaffrey, director of Army training. “This ensured Soldiers attending these courses received the required education and relevant operational and combat skills training, regardless of temporary fitness issues or post-deployment recovery and reset cycles. We accepted this risk, rather than send an untrained or unschooled Soldier back to their units.”
Now, McCaffrey said, the Army can afford to have Soldiers who meet both the training and fitness standards.
According to a message sent to all Army activities, PME courses affected include the Senior Service College, the Sergeants Major Academy, the Joint Special Operation Forces Senior Enlisted Academy, the Captains Career Course, intermediate level education, the Warrant Officer Advanced Course, the Warrant Officer Staff Course, the Warrant Officer Senior Staff Course, the Advanced Leaders Course, the Senior Leaders Course, and the Warrior Leader Course.
The policy change applies equally to courses taught in-residence and by mobile training teams.
Soldiers who are identified to attend these courses and schools will get an initial Army physical fitness test, height and weight screening. Those who don’t pass the initial test will be allowed one retest. Soldiers who don’t meet requirements after the second test will be removed from the course. Their service school academic evaluation report will also be annotated “failed to achieve course standards.”
“Reestablishing the Army physical fitness test and height/weight standards into our professional military education programs reinforces the efforts the Army’s senior leaders have been emphasizing on standards based training and education,” said McCaffrey.
More information regarding the policy change can be found at: http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/ad2012_20.pdf.