tee was to review evidence on the physical requirements of military jobs, we found no research detailing the fitness requirements of all of the common military tasks required for combat readiness.
Conclusion: In order to understand the fitness requirements needed to perform the set of common military tasks within each service, an analysis of the requirements of each task is needed. While the requirements of a few tasks (e.g., carrying a loaded pack) have been studied, there is no systematic analysis of the entire set of common tasks in each Service.
Recommendation 2-2: We recommend that research be undertaken to determine the fitness requirements (based on defining the functional requirements) of the common tasks cutting across military occupational specialties in each Service, with the goal of using this research to set fitness standards.
The committee notes that each Service has some form of routine physical fitness testing for all members. While all include components measuring aerobic capacity, upper body muscle strength, and abdominal muscle strength, the components vary considerably by Service, as do the standards for passing. While the research we recommend would provide a scientific underpinning for specifying the physical requirements for combat-readiness, the current annual fitness testing standards serve as the Services’ current operational definition of the physical requirements of military service.
We note that the use of different fitness measures by the Services makes it difficult to assess fitness across the Services. While acknowledging that each Service may have reason to set standards differently from the others and may have reason to implement additional Service-specific measures, the use of a common set of basic fitness measures would aid understanding of fitness across the Services.
Recommendation 2-3: We recommend that an inter-Service panel develop a common core set of uniformly administered fitness measures for use across the Services in research studies on physical fitness and its policy implications for military service. This does not preclude the use of additional Service-specific measures or the setting of differing standards by each Service.
The committee reviewed methods for examining the linkage between a medical or fitness standard and an outcome of interest (e.g., attrition,