Army Combat Fitness Test Media Round Table March 21, 2021 | Article | The United States Army
Moderator: All right, everybody. Thank you so much for joining us. Good afternoon. Today we're going to be joined by a number of Army leaders as well as representatives from the RAND Corporation to discuss the way forward on the Army Combat Fitness Test.
We have a number of distinct topics that we're going to cover today, and to help us do that our speakers will be Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston; Mr. Jeff Angers, the deputy assistant secretary of the Army for military personnel; Brig. Gen. John Kline, commanding general for the Center of Initial Military Training; Brig. Gen. Scott Naumann, director of training, DCS G-3/5/7; Dr. Sally Sleeper, the vice president of the Army Research Division and director of the Rand Arroyo Center who led the study; and Dr. Chaitra Hardison, senior behavioral scientist and lead author of the RAND independent study on the ACFT. And we also have Sgt. Maj. Deanna Czarnecki from the enlisted division, the sergeant major for military personnel policy who will be able to help with some of the questions.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: Okay. Thanks, Sgt. Reinier, and thanks everyone. Good afternoon. And thank you all for joining us. I want to begin by acknowledging that this is taking us, you know, far too long for us to brief you with some of the changes on the ACFT. While the changes to the test are minimal, it was a thoughtful, deliberate process to ensure that we're delivering the best test for the Army right now. Additionally, there has been a lot of attention devoted in the past weeks to our situation in Europe, and the Army has been asked to send Soldiers to reinforce our NATO allies and our partners in the region. I'm incredibly proud of the thousands of Soldiers that are in Europe right now. We don't know exactly when they'll be coming home. So we ask that we all keep them and their families in your thoughts.
Today, we're discussing how we will begin to implement a revised Army Combat Fitness Test based on the feedback from Soldiers, an independent RAND study and the review of nearly 630,000 Army Combat Fitness scores and over three years of ongoing analysis. Implementation of the ACFT will enable the Army to maintain a high level of personal physical fitness, which is important to each Soldier’s holistic health and will support the overall readiness of the Army. The latest revision to the ACFT will maintain the Army’s strong commitment to a positive culture of physical fitness while ensuring fairness in the transition to a new fitness test of record. Soldiers will begin taking the diagnostic evaluations of the revised Army Combat Fitness Test in April of 2022. There will be no administrative actions, positive or negative, as a result from testing during this period. Record testing for the regular Army commences in October of 2022, giving active-component Soldiers six months to train for the revised test before they can be flagged for failure. Record scores for the Army National Guard and Army Reserve will commence in April 2023, giving Reserve component Soldiers a year to train for the revised test. There is a lot to the policy. That is why we took so much time to make sure that it is ready to discuss. We'll do our best to cover it all today. But I want to stop there and give Gen. Kline and Gen. Naumann and RAND and Mr. Angers…we have got a whole host of others that are here to discuss their topics. And again, thank you for joining us today.
Brig. Gen. Kline: Okay. Hey, I'm Brig. Gen. John Kline. I'm the commanding general for the Center for Initial Military Training. As the SMA mentioned, the kind of flow here, the logic behind how we're going to brief you, you know, obviously the SMA opened up. I have the command that was responsible for putting the test together. So I'm going to talk about kind of where we were, you know, since 1983 up to current time. I'll be brief about it, but I don't want to assume that the audience, you all out there, know kind of where we've been. I think it's useful. And then I'll take us up to the point where the NDAA came in and required a third party to come in and do an assessment. So RAND will take it from there. And then RAND will transition over to Gen. Naumann, who will share with all of us what the Army is doing in response to RAND’s study, and then we'll finish up with the M&RA and Mr. Jeff Angers, who will talk some of the policy pieces.
So my command is responsible for taking Soldiers – actually, civilian volunteers and we turn them into Soldiers. So, all the basic training that's out there and portions of AIT, that's what CMIT does. And with that we also are responsible for, or are the proponent anyway, the functional proponent for holistic health and fitness, which is a fairly large initiative to improve readiness of our force across many domains. Physical is just one of them, and as part of that physical domain, this test falls in line with that effort. And so this study started – or the analysis for building a new test started – many years ago. But as a reminder for everyone, you know, we had the Army Physical Fitness Test since 1983. So for 39 years, we had the same test and the Army knew that we could do better in terms of building readiness in the physical domain. And so, in about 2012, we started looking at how we could incorporate more components of physical fitness and do something a little bit better than the pushups, the situps and the two-mile run that we did for so long underneath the old APFT. The old APFT only measured muscular endurance. That's only one of 10 components of physical fitness, and we wanted a test that would get after all 10 components. And so in 2012, they started looking at the test, and over years they iterated, and in this iteration they decided that – we the Army decided that – we wanted to improve our fitness culture. We knew we could evolve, and we wanted to improve readiness overall. And we wanted to reduce injury. And we wanted to incorporate the other components – components like strength, power, agility, balance, speed, flexibility, just to name a few of them. And in 2019, we came out with the first version of the ACFT. Some of you may recall it. If not, it was a gender-neutral test and it was based off of occupation. So the idea was, if you were an infantryman, for example, or an infantry woman, you should perform at a different test and we went through all 150 MOSs. We were looking at how we could apply – which band you would fall into. And in those days we had a black, a gray and a gold band in which you could fall into. And then the next year in 2020 we realized that from a policy standpoint, and for a variety of reasons, that was going to be really tough to do. And so we separated away from the MOSs and we said we're going to work on a test that’s for everybody. And at that point, we were starting to get feedback on core exercise, and we added the plank as an alternative event to a core exercise. And then in 2021, we came out with Version 3. It was still a gender-neutral test, but we did tiering. What that did is you couldn't necessarily – women would compete against women scoring, and men would compete against men scoring. In essence, you came out into a kind of a color-coded tier. You were either platinum or you could work your way down the color spectrum until it was green if you were just passing the standard.
And that takes us up to about January of 2021, when within the NDAA the law was written that the Army needed to bring in a third party to assess the test before implementation because there were some concerns regarding certain populations being disadvantaged, and there were some concerns over environmental impacts. And so at that point RAND came in and they started to assess our test in its totality. So with that, I will transition over to RAND to share with all of us what it is that they found.
Dr. Hardison: All right. Thank you.
So the RAND Royal Center was asked to provide the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army with recommendations to ensure the successful full-scale implementation of the Army Combat Fitness Test, which was set to begin on April 1st of 2022.
This request was driven by the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act, which directed the Army to commission an independent assessment of the ACFT. Our approach in responding to this request involved three elements. The first was reviewing the research that the Army had gathered and conducted to support the ACFT. This included the Army's primary study to develop the ACFT, called the Baseline Soldier Physical Readiness Requirements Study. It also included literature reviews of the Army conducted on physical ability testing more broadly. Second, we analyzed the Army's diagnostic ACFT data. ACFT scores that we analyzed in our study were gathered from 2019 through Sept. 10th of 2021. In total we had ACFT data on around 460,000 Soldiers across all three components. And third, we held focus groups with members of the workforce to provide additional context and background for our results.
We have four main findings and corresponding recommendations. and I'll talk through each.
Our first finding is that the evidence base to support the ACFT is incomplete. Some events have not been shown to predict performance on combat tasks or to reduce injuries to the principal goals of the test. The leg tuck, for example, was not well supported for use in predicting performance on combat tasks in the Army's Baseline Soldier Physical Readiness Requirements Study, and the leg tuck has not been well studied in the broader literature. In addition, we noted that the plank was not included in the Army study, so there was no data available directly examining whether the plank was a useful predictor of Army combat task performance.
There were other events that were not shown to predict combat task performance in the Army study. For example, the hand release pushup and the two-mile run, but traditional pushups and running both have support in the broader research literature. We also noted that the Army's primary study to develop the ACFT involved very small numbers of Soldiers. The study included 62 women and 414 men in total. In addition, the evidence base does not support all Soldiers being held to the same standards. We recommended that the Army address shortfalls in the evidence base primarily through additional data collection and analysis and continual monitoring of personnel outcomes and progress towards achieving the aims of the test.
Second, we found that ACFT scores collected during the diagnostic period show some groups failing at noticeably higher rates – women, older Soldiers, Guard and Reserve personnel and Soldiers in some occupational specialties are experiencing these lower pass rates. The differences in pass rates were biggest between the genders. Roughly half of enlisted women passed versus 85-,90% of men, depending upon the component.
While the pass rate discrepancies alone do not mean the test is flawed, they are especially concerning when there's insufficient validity evidence to support a test use. In the data we had available, many Soldiers had not taken the ACFT yet, so pass rates may change as the remaining Soldiers test. This is especially true for women, Guard and Reserve.
We recommend that the Army consider ways to mitigate these impacts on the workforce to help ensure that the ACFT is as successful as possible. Examples of ways that they could mitigate these impacts include changing how the ACFT is scored – for example, establishing different standards by age, gender or other group characteristics, or reconsidering minimum passing scores or establishing policies to address specific circumstances similar to what was in place under the old Army Physical Fitness Test.
The third finding was that research in multiple military settings has shown that training can improve pass rates. We recommend that the Army takes steps to further support training improvements over time which could involve the phased implementation of the test, and ensures that all Soldiers have access to ACFT relevant training, equipment and coaching.
Finally, we noted that the Army would benefit from a formal management structure to oversee refinements to the ACFT over time. We recommended that the governance structure involve a range of key stakeholders, including members with responsibility for force management policy, military readiness, training Guard and Reserve considerations and military medicine. The goals of the structure should include implementing guidance, managing and communicating changes to the ACFT, overseeing resource investments in the test and in training, evaluating the effectiveness of those investments, conducting additional ACFT supporting research and analysis, and monitoring and responding to personal outcomes.
So that summarizes our high-level findings, and I'll hand it back over to the Army.
Brig. Gen. Naumann: Okay, great. Thanks, Dr. Hardison. Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Brig. Gen. Scott Naumann, and I'm the Army's director of training. So you've just heard a little bit about the history – where the Army began this journey – and then you heard from Dr. Hardison covering RAND's independent analysis of the previous Army Combat Fitness Test. What I would like to do this afternoon now is to highlight how the Army has revised the ACFT in response to those findings and recommendations from RAND's report, but also Soldier feedback and our own analysis. And then what I'd like to do, briefly, is to describe our plan moving forward.
So first, I should say that the Army worked really closely with RAND and Dr. Hardison's team throughout the process of their independent study of the ACFT. And the test that we will soon implement really evolved in direct response to RAND’s analysis, their findings and recommendations. In fact, you'll see that we took some of their recommendations almost to the letter. You also recall from Dr. Hardison’s brief that the independent RAND study had four kind of top-level recommendations for ACFT implementation. So, just as a quick review, because I'll hit each of these in order, the first one was addressing shortfalls in the tests evidence base; the second was consider ways to mitigate impacts to the workforce; the third one was, you know, taking steps to further support training improvements over time; and then the fourth was institutionalizing some type of a formal senior-level management structure in order to guide implementation of a test.
So, to address these shortfalls in the ACFT evidence base that Dr. Hardison mentioned, the Army decided to implement the test as a general physical fitness assessment as opposed to one that is designed to predict performance on a set of tasks, and that's a pretty important change. We also decided to provide a time-phase process for implementing this test in order to allow Soldiers to train for an additional time period before test scores are used for personnel actions. And we'll talk a little bit about that later when we talk about policy.
The Army also has decided, based on RAND’s recommendations, to commission some analytic support to assess the data going forward as we look at revising the ACFT following implementation in April. And this will ultimately inform the Army’s oversight of the ACFT in the future.
So, moving to that second point, the Army will mitigate impacts to the workforce by way of a new set of scoring scales and by incorporating the ACFT into personnel policy in a very deliberate manner. This again will ensure Soldiers can test and adjust to a new scale – one that is significantly different from what we did over the past 18 months or so. We expect that with these changes, the ACFT will have no greater impact on recruiting and retention than the old Army Physical Fitness Test. And that was one of the key points that the NDAA charged RAND with finding out for us.
Third, the Army will further support training improvements over time. And this is important, and I’d like to highlight a couple things here. One, we're going to expand access to ACFT training equipment across all Army components more than they are now. We've issued over 40,000 sets of equipment across all components. Additionally, we've developed a bunch of training plans, and we can go into those in more detail later if you're interested. These training plans include equipment-free options and are also available through a mobile app, through our Army doctrine and through the Army’s ACFT micro website on the internet.
Finally, to that last recommendation from RAND, the Army will establish a governance structure to oversee the full implementation of this test moving forward. The structure is going to look at scores, at pass rates, at injuries, environmental considerations, and then take all that data as we collect that – both through Army bodies and through this independent analytic support that RAND will provide to us in the future. And then we'll make a recommendation to senior leaders at some frequency in the future. The first one of those we put on the calendar to provide a comprehensive report to the Secretary of the Army one year from now in April 2023.
So that kind of generally covers the response to RAND’s findings and recommendations. So with that, what’s the Army doing? Well, starting on the first of April, the revised Army Combat Fitness Test will consist of six events – a three repetition max deadlift, a standing power throw, hand release pushups, the sprint-drag carry, a plank and the two-mile run. Soldiers must attain a score of at least 60 points on each one of these events and a go on any alternate aerobic event if taken. So, a couple key changes that I'd like to highlight.
First, this includes implementing the ACFT, as I mentioned before, as a general physical fitness test with age and gender performance normed scoring scales as opposed to gender-neutral scoring scales, and this really accounts for the age and gender group performance that we observe in the diagnostic data, and it mitigates some of the points that RAND highlighted in their assessment, independent analysis of the test. I should also say that these should be very familiar to many Soldiers as they're similar to those that we used on the old Army Physical Fitness Test. That is, the age brackets and the norm to scoring scales. The Army is also eliminating the leg tuck exercise while implementing the plank as the single required core strength assessment. We also added the 2.5 mile walk as an alternative aerobic event for those Soldiers medically unable to perform the two-mile run or other alternate events. The addition of this walk supports Soldiers in locations that have equipment or facilities, such as the alternate events that we have for the row, stationary bike or the swim. This was really based on not only RAND's feedback, but also from strong feedback from across the force, multi-components that we needed to respond to.
I'd like to add just a little bit more on the details of the scoring and how we develop those scales before I hand off to Mr. Jeff Angers. So the new age and gender performance normed scoring scales were developed using data, and that's data from the 630,000 ACFT scores that we've collected over the last 18 to 24 months. We've also included historic performance rates from the APFT for some data, and the scoring scales from other branches of the U.S. military, particularly for the plank. The maximum for these events, the maximum score of 100 points, was set at the 96th percentile of performance within each age group for that event. And that's basically what we had for the APFT. Similarly, the minimum passing score was set at 60 points for the deadlift, the standing power throw, the hand release pushup and the sprint-drag carry. That minimum 60 points was set at the 5th percentile.
The remainder of the scales were set using essentially an even distribution of Soldier performance across those two endpoints. And the Army used data from, like I said, the diagnostic ACFT scores and data from other services in order to build the plank scales.
I should highlight that the two-mile run minimum score was initially set at the 3rd percentile, but based on the data that we had from all the tests, we adjusted that to ensure that no one subgroup or age group or bracket would be required to complete the ACFT two-mile run faster than the APFT run standard previously. So, in other words, no one would have to run the two-mile run with the sixth event test faster than they had to run the two-mile run in the three at that test.
Finally, I should say that it's the Army's intent that the transition to full implementation of the ACFT will not adversely or disproportionately affect any Soldier or group. This is really important to us. We think this new test maintains the Army’s strong commitment to a culture of physical readiness while ensuring a deliberate transition to the new test. And to that end, the Army will incorporate the test in a very deliberate manner to ensure that Soldiers can train and adjust to the new events, and the new scoring scales, before we use those for personnel actions.
So with that, what I'd like to do is pass the presentation over to Mr. Jeff Angers, who can talk a little bit more about specific policy actions.
Mr. Angers: Thank you, Gen. Naumann. As Scott said, I am Jeff Angers. I am the deputy assistant secretary for military personnel, and I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you all today. I will address, as stated, some specific policy issues – personnel policy issues associated with the ACFT implementation.
Before I start I have two notes I want to make, just to make it a little clearer because I'm going to refer to some things and I want to make sure everyone understands. When I use the term active component or Reserve component, for active component I am referring to primarily the regular Army in the AGR – the active Guard and Reserve component. When I use the word RC, I’m primarily referring to the Guard and the Reserve minus the AGR. So I'm going to use those terms throughout, and I just don't want any confusion.
Second, there's four key dates that you're going to hear throughout this portion of the presentation, and these are very important dates. I say it because the policy can get a little confusing, but I want to highlight the dates. The first is 1 April 22. And Sergeant Major and SMA and Gen. Naumann noted that this will be the implementation time. The second is 1 October 22, and this will be important for the AC. Third, 1 April 23. This is important for both the AC and RC for different reasons, and the fourth one is 1 April 24, and this applies specifically to the RC.
So, with that, I am now going to focus on five separate topics. First is the phase implementation and the timeline. Second is accessions and commissioning policy. Third is retention policy. Fourth is separation policy. And fifth is the governance that has been highlighted here already.
So first, the phased implementation. The diagnostic testing, as stated earlier, will begin for both the AC and RC on 1 April 22. This testing period will go on for six months for the AC and 12 months for the RC. So record testing will begin on 1 October 22 for the AC and 1 April 23 for the RC. During the diagnostic testing phase, Soldiers in both components will have to take one ACFT and then beginning on 1 October for the AC, Soldiers will have to take two tests per year separated by no less than four months. For the RC the record testing will begin on 1 April, and they will have to take one ACFT per year. The test in the consecutive year should be taken no less than eight months apart. That's the phased implementation.
In terms of initial military training, effective 1 October 22 Soldiers must pass an ACFT to graduate from IMT. Similarly, effective 1 April 23, in this case, ROTC, West Point and other officer candidates must pass the ACFT to be commissioned.
In terms of retention, effective 1 October 22, Soldiers must have passed an ACFT within 12 months. If not, the Soldier is flagged but is authorized to extend up to 12 months to give him or her an opportunity to pass the test. Again, that's for AC. For RC Soldiers effective 1 April 23, Soldiers have to pass the ACFT within 12 months to reenlist. If not, the Soldier is flagged and is authorized to extend up to 12 months also to give them a chance to pass the ACFT.
For separations, effective 1 October for the AC. If a Soldier fails a test effective 1 October 22, the Soldier is flagged. The Soldier is given an opportunity to retest between 120 and 180 days or less if it's agreed upon with the commander.
And let me go back, for the RC effective 1 April 23, if the Soldier fails the ACFT, the Soldier is flagged and is given the opportunity to retest between 180 and 240 days. For enlisted Soldiers that fail twice, commanders will initiate separation. Commanders also have the discretion to initiate a bar to continued service and for officers, commanders will initiate separation.
For the AC there will be no separations prior to 1 April 23. And for the RC there will be no separations prior 1 April 24. So we're giving Soldiers plenty of time to adapt to the new test.
And finally, I'll cover governance. It was mentioned earlier before that we will use the Army People Strategy governance forums to oversee the implementation of the ACFT. This consists of four levels of forums – an ACFT working group that will meet monthly, chaired by the G-3/5/7 with CMIT; the APS senior leader steering committee that meets every other month – I am the co-chair – along with the G-3/5/7 from TRADOC; the APS executive committee, which meets quarterly and is chaired by the ASA M&RA and CG of TRADOC; and finally the APS Board of Governors, which meets quarterly and is either chaired by the SECARMY and the Chief of Staff, or the Under Secretary and the vice chairman – Vice Chief of Staff, sorry.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, we have commissioned, or sponsored, two RAND studies that will provide analytical support to the implementation, help identify any issues, and help the Army respond appropriately.
And just to repeat one last time, the initial comprehensive report to the Secretary of the Army is scheduled to be provided on April 23rd. So unless there's any questions, that's all I have.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: Mr. Angers, this is the SMA. I do want to add one clarifying point. I believe you said the board of governance met quarterly. I believe that is semi-annually, so every six months.
Mr. Angers: That’s fine.
Moderator: Gentlemen, thank you very much. For everyone in the room, we will move to questions. Please allow me the opportunity to call on you, then remember to identify yourself and your outlet. I will ask you to limit yourself to one question and one follow-up in order to give everyone an opportunity, and please bear with me as I have to mute and unmute within the room so that you don't get feedback on your end. So with that, we'll begin here in the room with Kaitlyn. And then, Haley, you'll have the next question.
(Audio not available for question)
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: ...Gen. Naumann can go to … With the previous test we had, the scoring was always done by age group and stigma. It's gonna be there where you say, I have to score a 600 and I think the overall scoring of the test is that it is a much harder test than what we had in the past. And when you look at that, there's always going to be that I have a different scoring of the test. We just have to communicate to our Soldiers that this is a much better test than what we had in the past and the way we get past through some of that is there are already some things that are already gender neutral. One of those things where we've moved to is the Ranger School. So, through other forums we have eliminated some of the stigma. “Oh, there's, you know, this problem or that problem,” because we've seen when we've gone to gender neutral for Ranger School, everyone has performed well, and you can see that. And I will ask Gen. Naumann if there's anything I need to clarify.
Brig. Gen. Naumann: Yeah, I think the idea of going to a general fitness test vice a, you know, a test that was designed to try and predict performance. An age and gender performance-based scale much more accurately assesses individual physical fitness, right? And it's something that's familiar. You'll recall that the old Army Physical Fitness Test was normed by age and by gender. And that allowed us to tailor max accomplishment and max performance on different groups, whether you're in the active component or the Reserve component. Whether you're young, whether you're old, regardless of what MOS, you can really target performance within that particular bracket. I don't really think that this is going to be all that different from what most Soldiers were used to under the old APFT.
What is different is that this is a much better test, right? It's much more comprehensive. It looks at all different aspects of fitness from endurance to, you know, strength to aerobic capacity. So, in that regard, it's a much better test.
Moderator: And I do apologize. There was a question out there, if we could repeat the question. It was essentially about addressing the stigma of an age and gender norm, the scoring table. Is that correct, Caitlyn? Okay, great.
Caitlyn Kenney: My follow-up is with the diagnostic data you already have from the previous six-event ACFT that you’ve already been gathering from like, I believe, over a year. Do you think there will be any challenges for active-duty Soldiers to be ready by October to be graded?
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: I do not see any challenges for the active duty to be ready by 1 October in six months. We've had a very similar version of this for at least three years. In 2019 – and I don’t know if CIMT would like to join in on this question – that's when CIMT said, “Hey, we're giving you this as the test of record.” It was the Army combat fitness status. So, we've just removed the leg tuck, the plank was already there, and some people were already taking it. And so, I believe there will be a very easy transition in the next months, six months for the active component. Don't know if you want to jump in...
Brig. Gen. Kline: The only thing I would add, SMA, is that for three years now every new Soldier coming into the Army, going through basic training and AIT, this is all they've ever known anyway, so that's a fairly sizable population within our Army. They never even did the APFT.
Moderator: Great. We'll go to Haley and then, Davis, you'll have the next question.
Haley Britzky: Hey, actually, if it's okay, I'd love for Davis to go first. So can he go first and I can ask mine after him?
Moderator: Davis, go ahead.
Davis Winkie: Thanks, Haley. And thanks everybody. This is Davis from Army times. My question is kind of thrown out to the whole panel. When it comes to removing the leg tuck, what were the factors that weighed most heavily in favor of that decision? And what factors had the Army wanting to hold on to it had the others gone its way? Thanks.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: I'll lead off if that's okay, Davis. Thank you. And then I think Gen. Naumann would probably be the best to kind of piggyback on. For removing the leg tuck, when you get a chance to read the RAND study, it says, you know, it said it's weak validity when it's a predictor of core strength. And some of the problems – I'm not sure if Dr. Hardison is still on there – is when you start looking at it, the leg tuck has really three components to it. There's a grip strength, then there's an upper-body strength, and then there is a core event. And if I have, if I don't have the grip strength but I may actually have core strength, I actually can't do a leg tuck. So I think that the reason for kind of wanting to take that out is that we wanted to measure everybody on the core strength. The second piece on wanting to keep it in was just what we said. When you look at the second part of the RAND study, it says there's a chart in there and it shows if you did have this multi-component aspect of the leg tuck, and it has a grade sheet, it shows that the leg tuck actually has some validity as a multi-component aspect. I just told you about the different components. Its grip strength, upper-body strength and core. So that was what wanting to keep that in is – that we believe, you know, an old Soldier will say, “Yes, you need grip strength, you need upper-body strength,” and it's a multi-component exercise. And that's why we wanted to look at it, and it wasn't just a core exercise. And anytime you can get multiple components out of an exercise, you know, everybody, that's what you want. You don't want to only focus on one area. Sir, is there anything ...
Brig. Gen. Naumann: Yeah, SMA, I think you nailed it. Davis, so the pro – the advantage is that it's this dynamic exercise, right? It's got – it's a complex movement. There's, you know, I'm not an exercise physiologist, but there's these flexors involved and there's different components of the body that are involved. The challenge with it is that it doesn't, it doesn't evenly assess core strength across different groups because there's these kind of pre-movements and necessary actions that aren't really associated with core strength. And if you can't get some of the preliminary actions, then you never really can assess core strength evenly across the force, and you're left with a situation where potentially you have a Soldier with superior core strength that you can't effectively measure because of those precursor events, and that's really the disadvantage. If you look at that with all this data and 630,000 test scores, you end up disadvantaging different groups, and that's not what the Army wants. The Army wants to impact the culture of fitness with a much better comprehensive test.
Brig. Gen. Kline: Just as a way of closure, so we went just with the plank in order to standardize it for everybody. And that way, we would have some uniform scoring mechanism for everybody.
Moderator: Dr. Hardison from RAND, is there anything that you would like to add on this before we move on?
Dr. Hardison: No, I think they captured it well.
Moderator: Okay, great. Davis, do you have a follow-up to that?
Davis Winkie: Did the decision to remove it as an optional event also perhaps stem from worry about giving an unfair advantage that wasn't reflective of core strength for certain subsets of the population in addition to disadvantaging other groups? Thanks.
Brig. Gen. Naumann: I think what I would say is it just unevenly measures. So if you give this option, you've got some challenges to a test where Soldiers are going to experience the test differently and, you know, there's this idea that RAND talked about and presents in their data, that we need more data in order to validate the test in old format. And one of those things we'd have to really analyze, you know, what's the impact on subsequent events in the test following the plank or the leg tuck? What's the impact on a particular Soldier’s ability to perform that last event, that two-mile run? It may be different. And so, from a simplicity perspective, you know, having a single core event that the data shows you can evenly measure core strength across all groups, across all Soldiers. That's one point. The second point is, hey, let's have everyone experience the test in the same way instead of having these kinds of different pathways. And that's why we eliminated the option.
Moderator: That was Brig. Gen. Naumann, if anyone wasn't able to pick up on that.
All right, Haley. If you're ready, we'll go to you, or not. Yes or no?
Haley Britzky: Yes. I'm ready. Thank you so much for doing that, and thank you all for doing this. I so appreciate it.
My first question is, I want to go back to 2019 and kind of walk through the implementation phase and how this worked out. What do you think the main problem was that has led to sort of needing this study, needing to re-implement it, multiple versions? Do you think that the Army moved too fast? Should there have been this sort of formal management structure that RAND is recommending already in place? Can you kind of talk about, like, in retrospect maybe, what the Army would have done differently and sort of beginning to talk about the test and beginning the implementation phase?
Brig. Gen. Kline: Okay. Yeah, so thanks for the question, Haley. This is Gen. Kline. I'll take the first stab at a response, and then I'll see if my colleagues have anything they want to add.
Kind of addressing that last portion first – “Do you think that, you know, looking back in retrospect, do you think maybe we moved too fast or anything?” I mean, I'll share with you that there's a dedicated team within CIMT and a whole host of others that, I mean, this has been their life, to be blunt, and they have spent, you know, the better part of their lives, if you will, looking at this test. But don't forget also within the APFT, through time we made changes throughout that period that we had that test as well. So it really just took feedback from the force. It took our own assessments that we were doing internally, looking at the test, and RANDs findings were key in this. So at the end of the day, we didn't change too much from 2019 other than kind of the way we score it and the removal of one of the alternate events.
You guys have anything you want …
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: The only thing I would add is, when you go back and look at it, you know, how do you validate that a task is performed in a Warrior Task and Battle Drill? And any change in that task needs to be re-validated with a number of scores and exercises. You heard RAND say it was a very small number to validate. And how they validated that was what's called the Warrior Task In Battle Drills Simulation Test. So when you read the RAND study, it'll say the Warrior Task In Battle Drills Simulation Test. Any changes to that needs to go back and be re-validated. I think that's probably one of the biggest lessons learned. We had the data sets, and if we'd gone back and done that re-validation, maybe we'd been a little different. But overall the Army has tried to change the PT test probably three times in the last 40 years, and I'm really proud that we're moving forward. We’re there. We're doing it, where other attempts have not gone so well. That was for me one of the lessons learned. Thanks, Haley.
Moderator: Haley, I will give you your follow-up and then, Rose, you'll be next.
Haley Britzky: Thank you so much. Yeah, so the last question is just – and I apologize if we’ve already gone over this but I believe … I couldn't catch her name, I'm so sorry, the woman from RAND earlier who mentioned, you know, suggestions like maybe have ACFT score things like that. I mean, as we're moving forward and looking at it now, I know, SMA, you said earlier like the good idea fairy is no more. So with what we have now, what Soldiers have right now, is this the test? No changes can be expected to come later? They better get used to it? I mean, what can Soldiers expect from this moving forward?
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: Yeah, Haley, I'll come in. The answer is yes. Right now, this is the test. We do have a governance, and we do need to look at … and there may be other aspects of it. But I'm almost certain that, you know, there will be some changes over time – maybe the scorings change, maybe something else changes, but I don't see any big. I don't really. I can't predict the future. That's number one. But number two, I agree that this is the test. This is it, you know, 1 October. This is it. It's coming. And actually, April it's coming. That's it. No more changes. And then we need to validate or look at that information. And then, do we need to make adjustments? So I would not say there's not going to be any adjustments, because that wasn't true with the old APFT, but I think there will be some, maybe a change here. Do we need to make more time, is it too much time to recover? So the old APFT had 90 days as a recovery. So if I failed the APFT I had to take another test and pass within 90 days. And we said we want 180 days, but do we reevaluate that? So a lot of these things can be reevaluated, but right now, we need to have this test and everybody take it and we need some time. There will be adjustments, but probably not any bold shifts of adding, you know, a new exercise or something like that. Anybody?
Brig. Gen. Naumann: SMA is right on. This is the test. We laid out the timeline. We've got the standards. It's going out in doctrine, it's going out in orders. But to the SMAs point, you know, we had the APFT for 40 years. That thing changed multiple times, and so for the Army to hold on to something just for the sake of not changing is wrongheaded. And you know, we want to make sure that we're evolving with the times to ensure that we have a culture of fitness and that we're building fit and ready Soldiers to meet the demands of the modern battlefield. And this test will do that.
Moderator: Alright, thank you so much, Haley. Rose, you'll have the next question, followed by Roxana.
Rose Thayer: Hey, it's Rose here. Thank you for pulling this together. I wanted to ask – I saw something in the RAND report just sort of discussing … It says with the pass rates we observed, many Soldiers would be failing the test if it were instituted today. Can you talk a little bit about what sort of pass rates they were seeing during the RAND study and how it compares to the previous test?
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: Thanks, Rose. This is SMA. I do want to say that RAND was looking at a slightly different test. When you look at the RAND study, it was age and gender neutral. So that pass rate that they're talking about in there is what actually was version 3.0 where we said it would still have a baseline of age and gender neutrality, which is different than what we have now. I'll pass it to Gen. Naumann to discuss the pass rates and how we believe it will be predicted in the future.
Brig. Gen. Naumann: Yeah. Thanks, SMA. So, specifically again … I'm glad you asked the question because it's important to note that what RAND looked at was that ACFT Mod 3, and you kind of heard the history from Gen. Kline and the SMA, and when you look at the data, what RAND found was that there was a pass rate of about 89% for men and about 54% for women on the age- and gender-neutral scoring tables. And, you know – you heard all of the issues with that – RAND’s findings and the recommendations on how we can mitigate the impacts to the workforce, namely by making some adjustments on the events and going to an age- and gender-normed scale. With the age- and gender-norm scale we have the similar outcomes, or we predict similar outcomes based on the data that we have right now that we had roughly with the old APFT. And that was an acceptable personnel policy, physical fitness policy, set of scales, and scores to drive readiness – physical readiness within the Army. And I think I highlighted, as I described, how we, you know, how we set the percentiles and, you know, about 5% were maxing, so we set the 95th percentile as max and about 5% had failed in the old APFT. And so we set the 60% percentile at that 5% given the data that we had. So that was a significant shift. I would highlight once more that the intent of the Army is to build, you know, fit Soldiers, not to separate a bunch of Soldiers that on one day would be awesome, full faith and, you know, doing their job and could deploy to Poland or anywhere in the world and then implement a test that the next day they would now be separated based on some scoring scale. That is not the intent, and that's not what this test will do.
Moderator: Rose, do you have a follow-up to that? And then we'll move to Roxana.
Rose Thayer: Yeah, I do. I think it was Gen. Naumann who mentioned earlier that this is meant to be – and I don't have it pulled up – but an assessment and not a predictor test. It's designed to predict performance. I can't find it off the top of my head right now. But you said it was more of an assessment test rather than a predictor of how people will do in the real world environment or combat. Um, so I guess I was wondering, what are you specifically looking for? What is the Army specifically looking for through this test?
Brig. Gen. Naumann: Yeah, it's a good question. And thanks for picking up on the nuance. So this is a general fitness test, so a general assessment of a Soldier's fitness level as opposed to what the old test was, and that was designed to predict performance on a set of tasks. So that is not what this test is. This test, again, is a general fitness assessment using age and gender performance-based norm scales to accurately assess an individual's physical fitness. And this is in line with our, you know, overall Holistic Health & Fitness approach. You know, physical fitness is just one aspect and, you know, Gen. Kline might want to chime in here a little bit. This is just one aspect of a holistic approach to, you know, the readiness of our Soldiers. There is a mental component. There's a spiritual component. The physical fitness component …
Brig. Gen. Kline: Yep, and nutritional and sleep are the others. There’s five domains – spiritual, mental, nutritional, sleep and physical. This one's, this is a general fitness assessment on the physical, but if you aren't well slept, if you have not eaten appropriately, you have issues in your life that's affecting you mentally, then those things, you know, can have an impact. So we are trying to look after the overall or holistic health of our force.
Caitlyn Kenney: Can I ask a clarifying question?
Moderator: Sure, go ahead.
Caitlyn Kenney: When you said “the predicting performance of a set of tasks,” are you talking about the old APFT? Or you're talking about the tasks MOS test right?
Brig. Gen. Naumann: The Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. And that's what the RAND study specifically looked at. And that's where some of those findings about disparities in pass rates between groups, that's where that came in from. And so, that is not what this test is. This is a general assessment of fitness, not one that looks at your ability to perform tasks.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: And when you, Caitlyn, this is SMA. When you read the RAND study, they were trying to validate that this was a predictor of the Warrior Task and Battle Drills. And that's when they talk about validation, whether it has weak validity or no validity. It's because they couldn't validate that exercise because a smaller sample size and things weren't … We didn't go back and do the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills simulation test, and that validity of it.
Brig. Gen. Naumann: Shortfalls in the evidence. They point out, “Hey, there's these shortfalls, these gaps in the ability of this physical event to predict your ability to perform this task.” We recognized that, we listened to the recommendations and we moved to this general assessment of fitness.
Caitlyn Kenney: Thank you.
Moderator: Great, thanks. Roxana, and then we'll go to Thomas.
Roxana Tiron: Hi, guys. Thank you for doing this. Roxana Tiron with Bloomberg. If I may, if you could just maybe clarify the scoring system again, is it exactly the same as 3.0? I didn't catch that quite specifically.
And then on a second sort of … the main question that I had is the Army basically, you know, was highlighting the fact that, you know, the combat test is basically gender neutral. And it's sort of, you know, assessing people not on, you know, their age and gender abilities. And I'm wondering – it's obviously a very big change that you're implementing now – and I'm wondering how you view that, you know, based on how important that was in the past.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: Okay, I think Gen. Naumann probably has the scoring table …
BG Naumann: Oh, the scoring. Yeah …
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: Yeah, the first question. Thanks, Roxana. This is SMA. Gen. Naumann has the scoring question. And I’ll follow up with the second question.
Brig. Gen. Naumann: Yeah, so I'll take a stab and see if this is answering your question. So the old 3.0 test was age and gender neutral. So there was basically, you know, a standard. And with the general assessment of fitness test what I described to you, and I don't know if you can see it displayed up on the screen, but now we are using age- and gender-norm scales. So, similar to our older test where there are different age brackets – you know, 17 to 21 years old, 22 to 26, so on and so forth and then a male score and a female score. This is how we set the normed scales for each of those events on the six-event test. And I described a little bit – maybe I lost you on kind of percentiles and whatnot – but basically what we did was we took all the data, all the data that we had, and we put it on a percentage scale so that we would achieve the same outcomes that we had on the old APFT in terms of how many folks would max the test, how many folks would pass the test, how many folks would fail the test. We set the percentiles in such a way, and the scores that are on this table being displayed in such a manner in order to achieve those same outcomes. And that's important because we wanted to make sure that we're not disproportionately impacting any particular group in one way or the other as we build physical readiness within the force. Does that answer your question?
Roxana Tiron: Yes, I think it does. It's just that I think when, you know, when I was researching the new combat test, part of the issue that was highlighted was that the Army was priding itself in being gender- and age-neutral and saw benefits in that. I'm wondering whether, you know, is it congressional sort of backlash and concern to this approach that has, you know, also made these changes? Or is it concern again that it would affect, you know, recruitment and retention and promotions?
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: Okay, this is the Sergeant Major of the Army, Roxana. So we listened to what the RAND study, you know, provided us. It said, you know, you could disadvantage some groups, and they couldn't validate because of the small sample size that it was a complete predictor of the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills simulation test. So when Rand said … you know, we did, we said this is – I believe, even I've said it, you know – it was an 80% predictor of how you would perform on the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. But it was a very small sample size, and because of the small sample size that RAND could not validate, that prediction of what we had set in the BSPRRS (Baseline Soldier Physical Readiness Requirements Study) … So we listened to that, and we don't want to disadvantage any group. We believe this is a better test. We believe it would be, it still would be a better predictor of the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills simulation test, but we actually have to validate that, and it's hard to validate it if you have that small sample size.
And then the second thing that we listened to in the RAND study is the governance. There's nothing that would prevent us from going back and again doing the validity work when you have a governance that can go back and say, yes, we do want something that is predictive of what you do and your Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, but we have to do that and we have to get it right. So we don't want to disadvantage our Soldiers. We have said that. I personally have said that several times. We don't want to disadvantage our Soldiers. So we listened to the RAND study, and that's how we've changed it. And that's part of the governance, is to go back and say, you know, can we validate, you know, these things that we wanted to make fitness better in the first place?
Roxana Tiron: Thank you very much.
Moderator: Thank you. Thomas Novelly, Military.com.
Thomas Novelly: Hey, y’all. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this media roundtable. So the first question is, and I just want to clarify this because I thought I saw it in the fine print on the slide, but for the two-mile run you also mentioned that a 2.5 mile walk would also be an option. I also thought, I saw it in parentheses there, that also there was like a bike or a swim option as well. So I wanted to ask, what would qualify a Soldier to opt in for the 2.5 mile walk and what are the standards for that? And also, just to clarify, like this swimming/biking element to that too?
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: Okay, I'll go on the big scale, sir, and then I’ll pass it over to you if that’s okay? I do want to clarify, one thing is that the run is the primary event for the Army. It is the two-mile run. It's not like, “Hey, I'm not feeling it today and I'd like to do the walk.” So, the way normally that works is, you know, sometimes we're injured for whatever reason, sometimes that may be a permanent injury. So I go to the doctor and the doctor says, “Hey, you have this permanent thing and you're not allowed to, you know, do some kind of run for two miles.” So it's normally when the doctor says you can't do this. However, you can be looked at, and I could stay in my MOS. So, there’s multiple aspects to this. I don't want to get too deep into this, but a doctor says that I am physically capable to do this exercise or not. If I can't do the primary exercise for the Army, which is the run. That comes in a recommendation from a profile, that's from a doctor's recommendation. And then it says, “But you can stay in the Army, but you can do these other alternate aerobic events,” and that's when it comes to swim, the walk, but the primary event for the Army is the run, and the Soldier doesn't come in and say, “Hey, I'd like to do the swim today.” It has to be from a medical doctor.
Brig. Gen. Naumann: I think you nailed it. That's essentially … the event is the two-mile run. And if there's a medical reason why a Soldier, as determined by a doctor, can’t perform that, there are alternate aerobic events that a Soldier could perform. That's basically what you saw there on the chart.
Brig. Gen. Kline: A bike, a row, or a swim or the 2.5 mile walk.
Thomas Novelly: Got it, got it.
Moderator: Thomas, we have those standards and will get those to you.
Thomas Novelly: Great, thank you. Just as a follow-up, you had also mentioned that there was a program available that would not require equipment. And one of the main criticisms we heard at military.com from service members was that they were spending a lot of money out of pocket to get the proper equipment and that, you know, ultimately, they felt like they might be at a disadvantage if they couldn't afford a gym membership that, you know, provided that equipment or to get the equipment themselves. Is there a disadvantage for a service member if they were to go through the training program that did not require equipment? And did the RAND study touch on that at all, of training with the proper equipment versus no equipment at all?
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: I'm not going to speak on behalf of RAND, but I'm almost certain that we did not have a look at if, you know, you took out all the equipment and then you had equipment readily available from the RAND study. I don't know if Dr. Hardiston would like to chime in. But for the specifics on the training, I will actually turn it over to Gen. Kline to talk about all the assets we have for training and availability, and as I turn it over to these two individuals who want to chime, in I will say that one of the key things that we found out of the [630,000 scores] is the No. 1 failed event is still the two-mile run, which is very similar that we've had for the last 30, almost 40 years, is the two-mile run. So a lot of those things that we assume will be better, and we need equipment for, what we have found is, like I said, the No. 1 failed event is the run. Gen. Kline can talk about, hopefully, some of the things that we're doing to make sure that we don't need …
Brig. Gen. Kline: Yeah, so I'll start off with, you know, when Soldiers come in the Army, we are training them, the standard, on how they can prepare themselves for this test and really functional fitness in general. And a lot of that is without equipment in which we do that. We also recognize the fact that, depending on where you're at and whether or not you're in a gym or not, it doesn't matter too much in the fact that you can do most of the working out that you need to do without the equipment. And we've got within our doctrine, which is FM 7-22 and then we've got two other publications, 7-22.02 and 7-22.01. Those are Army training publications, ATPs. Within there we lay out specifically all the exercises that you can do if you don't have the equipment available. In some cases you can use other stuff that's more readily available. Maybe it's sandbags. Maybe it's, you know, a lot of units have their gurneys and stuff that are available. Almost every unit has got things like that that they can use to do this sprint, drag and carry, kettle bells and the like.
And then, in terms of the equipment, and Gen. Naumann went into some of this earlier on, but a fairly large investment to resource in excess of 40,000 sets of equipment … and I have some of the numbers here: 10,829 sets went to the active component, and then 15,854 sets went to the National Guard, 8,037 sets went to the Army Reserve, and then the command that I work within [TRADOC] purchased another 5,029 sets of equipment to go out to our recruiting stations, and they also go out to all the ROTC detachments. When you average it all out, there's a set of equipment out there for every 25 Soldiers across all the compos to do the actual test with. One thing that we probably didn't communicate very well early on was, if you are, for example, in the National Guard or Reserve and you're not next to one of these large active-duty training bases, there's some coordination that probably needs to be done to go to any one of the ROTC detachments that are out there, or the 1,400 recruiting stations that are out there, all of which were equipped with or fielded that equipment. And then, lastly, I would say that the national stock numbers are available for any unit out there. They can order the equipment to fill any shortages they may have.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: This is SMA. To kind of throw in one thing too is personal trainers. We have thousands of master fitness trainers in the Army. And part of the issue in the last year is all the scores have been masked for units. So if you were to not do well in an event, in the past when we unmasked those scores, I can say I can build you a personalized training regimen based off of equipment or no equipment just for you based off your score. Until 1 April, that is on the individual because I can, you know, for all the right reasons … we didn't unmask the scores. We had the scores, but we can't say, “This is where you're deficient.” But when we do that, we have trainers. And you say I am … “Here's my score, here's what I think I’m weak on,” and then we have the master fitness school, and they will say, “Here are the, you know, non-equipment exercises you can do to improve your score in this event.” I've actually gone to them and asked them that same thing because in COVID – I know, shockingly – everybody's gym shut down. I know I'm just unique, but I did actually improve my score based off of what the master fitness trainers gave me as a personalized event without equipment in a gym because all our gyms went down. I actually went to them and said, “What could I do in the interim?” But because we couldn't apply that, because we can't say, “Let me look at your scores.” And for all the right reasons, we have said why we didn't do that, but we have a lot of resources that can give you in any component a personalized … Sir, you have something?
Brig. Gen. Kline: Yeah, just to add … This is Gen. Kline again. Master fitness trainers – that's a course that we run within the Army. It falls under CIMT. It's a four-week course, and we produce currently – we were producing about 830 master fitness trainers a year. Starting this month as a matter of fact, we are doubling that to over 1,600 master fitness trainers a year. And we've been doing this course now with ACFT since 2019. So we think that we've got somewhere around 2,500 master fitness trainers throughout the Army that are current with ACFT.
Moderator: Dr. Hardison, I see your hand up. Is there anything here on this point?
Dr. Hardison: Yeah, I just wanted to jump in and add that we didn't have information about people's access to equipment linked up to their diagnostic data. So we weren't able to look at the link between those two things. But we did, in our focus groups, discuss this at length with members of the workforce. And we heard some of the same comments that you raised, which were that people were concerned about not having access to equipment to train, and then they also said that they would like that individualized coaching and expressed an interest in it as well. And so, you know, both of those are topics that people raised in the discussion and that we shared with the Army that contributed to some of our recommendations. And we heard these comments both from members of the regular Army, but we also heard them from members of the Reserve and Guard community as well.
Moderator: Thank you, Dr. Hardison. Davis, I see your hand up. Go ahead.
Davis Winkie: Yeah, thanks for letting me have another question here.
I'm just having kind of a disconnect here with the insistence now that this is a general fitness test and it's not formally linked to any of the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, but we're still, we're still here calling it the Army Combat Fitness Test. Do we still feel like that's an accurate name to have on it given the big changes that have happened here?
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: Davis, thank you. This is SMA. We’ve had a lot of conversation about that. I'll be honest. And the answer is yes. My bottom line was, you know, in the United States Army we actually, believe it or not, all go to combat. When you look at the Soldiers that deployed to Afghanistan, there were are all compos in Afghanistan of last year. It wasn't just the 82nd Airborne Division. I'll probably get it wrong, so I won't say it, but there was a National Guard unit right there to support them in Afghanistan. We also had doctors. We had lawyers in Kabul in Afghanistan. So I think this stigma that we have units in the Army that don't go – units or people that don't actually go to combat – is really the narrative that we're trying to get rid of. If you're in the United States Army and you wear this uniform, and we are called to go do something, we would prefer to do that as an away game. And we all go do that regardless of your MOS.
Moderator: All right. Thank you, everyone. I think we'll go ahead and wrap there. Just around the room. Mr. Angers, anything else that you'd like to come back on?
Mr. Angers: Nothing, thank you.
Moderator: Okay, Gen. Naumann? Gen. Kline?
Brig. Gen. Kline: The only thing I would say is this is not a version 4.0. This ACFT is still just called the ACFT. It'll be effective 1 April.
Moderator: And Sergeant Major of the Army?
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Grinston: I just want to thank everybody for your commitment and coming in and listening to what we have to do. It's incredibly important for our Army to make sure that we're fit in everything that we do. So thank you all for your time. And, actually, thank you to my teammates here. Gen. Naumann has a day job, so does Mr. Angers and Gen. Kline. To really help us as an Army get this through has really been a team effort. It's been years, and we appreciate you taking the time to listen to us today. Thank you for the team that we have here today. So, thank you.
Moderator: All right. Thank you. As a quick reminder, the embargo is scheduled to lift on Wednesday at 10 a.m. Eastern with the release of the Army's announcement that will be sent via email. Until then please don't hesitate to reach out to OCPA if there's any specific questions, points of clarity or any other background that we can provide. Thank you to our experts for your time explaining this and have a great day.