The Army’s comprehensive fitness program is set to be deployed to units sooner than previously planned. Acting Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George has authorized an accelerated deployment of holistic health and fitness equipment and personnel, with a goal of fielding 110 brigades by fiscal year 2029. The announcement was made at the Mobile Warfighter Conference in Fort Moore, Georgia, where Gen. George and Army Staff Sergeant Major Michael Weimer expressed their commitment to the program. They are considering doubling funding for the deployments and ensuring that troops receive the equipment quickly. The program will employ over 1,400 staff members, including strength coaches and athletic trainers.
A key component of the program is the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), which is considered to be a better measure of physical fitness than the previous Army Physical Fitness Test. However, there has been some backlash against the ACFT, leading to a Senate bill that aims to eliminate it as a fitness test. Despite this, Gen. George, Sgt. Maj. Weimer, and other Army leaders have expressed their support for both the ACFT and the holistic health and fitness program. They believe that the ACFT is helping to change the fitness culture in the Army and that the program is an extension of that.
The program includes various areas of focus, including physical, mental, spiritual, nutritional, and sleep health. It also provides equipment and services to each brigade, such as Deployable Medical Equipment Sets, Deployable “Gyms in a Box,” Garrison Equipment Sets, and Garrison Soldier Performance Readiness Centers. These resources have already shown improvements in body composition, physical training scores, and behaviors among soldiers.
In addition to the deployment of equipment and personnel, the program also aims to provide additional skills training and qualifications for soldiers. Junior officers can receive education and H2F instruction virtually, while senior enlisted leaders will be more involved in coordinating physical training and other aspects of the program with their units and H2F staff. The program will be further integrated into Army leadership training.
The Army Lessons Learned Center has also released a handbook for more detailed instruction on the program. The ACFT has already undergone changes since its introduction, and Gen. George believes that the standards will continue to adjust and change in line with the evolving knowledge on physical fitness and the demands on soldiers.
Overall, the Army is committed to implementing the holistic health and fitness program and ensuring that troops have the resources they need to maintain their physical and mental well-being.