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ACFT Failure 2024

In the United States Army, you must take a physical fitness test, whether it’s the APFT or the new ACFT. So it depends on when you’re taking it.  

I will provide a detailed explanation of the Army Combat Fitness Test Scoring, the consequences of ACFT failure, and the specific retesting timelines and conditions for different soldier categories.

In the context of the United States Army and the phrases mentioned:


  • RA: Regular Army. This refers to full-time active-duty soldiers.
  • USAR: United States Army Reserve.
  • AGR: Active Guard Reserve. These are soldiers who serve full-time and are found in the Reserve and National Guard, ensuring units are trained and ready to deploy.

RC (less USAR (AGR))

  • RC: Reserve Component. This encapsulates all Army Reserve units and soldiers, except those on active duty.
  • less USAR (AGR): This notation implies excluding the USAR Active Guard Reserve members mentioned above.

ACFT Scoring Overview:

  • Passing Score: Soldiers must score a minimum of 60 points in each test event and a “GO” in the alternate aerobic event (if taken) to pass the ACFT.
  • Event Failure: Scoring below 60 points in any event or not getting a “GO” in an alternate aerobic event constitutes a failure. 
  • Failing even one ACFT Event results in an overall ACFT failure.

Actions Post-ACFT Failure

What happens when we don’t pass the ACFT?

Failing ACFT the First Time:

  • If you fail the ACFT for the first time, you will get flagged leading to Suspension of Favorable Personnel Actions (Flag) until you retest and pass.
  • This means we get a flag, which means no positive actions (like promotions) until we pass the test.

Retesting Guidelines

RA/USAR (AGR) Soldiers

  • RA/USAR (AGR) Soldiers should retest between 120 and 180 days from the initial test failure. 
  • A retest can be sooner if both the commander and the soldier agree that adequate reconditioning has occurred. 
  • Temporary profile duration doesn’t count towards retesting timelines e.g. if we’re on a temporary profile (like recovering from an injury), this time doesn’t count.

RC (less USAR (AGR)) Soldiers

  • RC (less USAR (AGR)) Soldiers should retest timelines are set between 180 and 240 days post-initial failure, with similar conditions for early retesting and the non-counting of temporary profile durations.

Training and Education Courses

  • Soldiers in Professional Military Education (PME) courses who fail both an initial test and a retest, will be removed from the course and processed accordingly.
  • This means if we fail the initial test and the retest after we’re out of the course.

Direct Commissioned Officers

  • Direct Commissioned Officers are expected, but not mandated, to pass the ACFT until 6 months after reaching their first unit of assignment. Adverse actions or flags will not be imposed until after this period.
  • In other words the Army expects you to pass the ACFT, but it’s not a must until 6 months after you get to your first unit. No bad marks or flags until then.

Flags and Recommendations Prior to Specific Dates

  • Before  1 October 2022 (RA/USAR (AGR)) & 1 April 2023 (RC (less USAR (AGR)): Soldiers should not be flagged for APFT or ACFT failure and must be recommended for retention by their immediate commander.
  • In other words our commanders can choose to enforce a bar to continued service instead of initiating separation.

Impact on Promotions After Specific Dates

  • From 1 October 2022 (RA/USAR (AGR)) & 1 April 2023 (RC (less USAR (AGR)): Any soldier flagged for failing to pass the ACFT becomes ineligible for promotion.

Specific Directives for Enlisted Personnel

Starting from 1 April 2023 (for RA/USAR (AGR)) and 1 April 2024 (for RC (less USAR (AGR))):

  • Initiation of Administrative Separation: If an enlisted Soldier fails, or has failed, two consecutive record ACFTs, commanders will initiate an administrative separation action.
  • Alternative Action: Commanders may opt to initiate a bar to continued service instead of separation.
  • Adherence to Policy: Procedures will follow chapter 13 of Army Regulation (AR) 635–200 or chapter 9 of AR 135–78.
  • Separation Basis: The ground for separation will be “unsatisfactory performance.”

Guidelines for Officers

Commencing 1 April 2023 (for RA/USAR (AGR)) or 1 April 2024 (for RC (less USAR (AGR))):

  • Initiation of Involuntary Separation: Commanders or other authorized initiating officials will initiate an involuntary separation action if an officer fails, or has failed, two consecutive record ACFTs.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Proceedings will be conducted according to chapter 4 of AR 600–8–24 or chapter 2 of AR 135–175.
  • Basis for Separation: Officers will be separated on the basis of “substandard performance of duty.”

Summary and Considerations:

  • Transition: We’ll notice transitions and adjustments in the impacts and changes related to APFT/ACFT failures based on particular dates.
  • Differentiation: The policies and repercussions differ between enlisted personnel and officers, and among varied soldier categories (RA/USAR (AGR) and RC (less USAR (AGR))).
  • Administrative Actions: If you experience failure, especially repeatedly, in the ACFT, it triggers administrative actions, which may lead to separation, following the respective guidelines and timelines.
  • Policy Adherence: Our adherence and references to specific Army Regulations (AR) chapters highlight the importance for us to familiarize ourselves with these documents for comprehensive understanding and compliance.

Conclusion and Personal Experience

In conclusion, the following can happen if you fail the ACFT

1. Retest

  • Short-Term: Soldiers who fail the ACFT are typically required to retake the test.
  • Improvement: They may be given a certain period to improve their physical fitness before the retest.
  • I’ve seen some cases where they gave multiple chances to soldiers who failed the ACFT. In some cases, an individual wasn’t improving, so they decided to kick him out of the Army. 
  • It depends on how you’re improving and how many chances the leadership in your team is willing to give you before they decide to kick you out of the Army. 

2. Remedial Training

  • Program Enrollment: Soldiers might be enrolled in a remedial physical training program aimed at improving their fitness levels.
  • Additional Training: They may have to participate in additional physical training to meet the required standards.
  • Based on my experience some soldiers who fail the ACFT or don’t meet weight and tape requirements, have been placed on remedial PT and do physical fitness twice a day.
  • On average, a soldier will do physical fitness in the morning and work during the day. 
  • The Army will place a non-commissioned officer, probably someone who’s already passed the ACFT test or is in decent shape, in charge for a day with the soldiers for remedial PT.
  • It’s usually mixed each day, though it won’t be an Asset NCO every single day. 
  • Usually, it’ll be like tasking, where a certain NCO gets tasks for the day to lead remedial PT and work with those individuals for about an hour. 

Diagnostic PT tests

  • During the remedial PT timeframe, you’ll be doing practice diagnostic PT tests, like practice ACFT tests. 
  • That will help you gauge where you’re at and where you’re improving before retaking another ACFT and hopefully passing it.

3. Career Implications

  • Promotions: Failing the ACFT may impact a soldier’s eligibility for promotions.
  • Special Assignments: It might also affect their ability to qualify for special assignments or schools.

4. Documentation

  • Official Record: The failed test may be documented in the soldier’s official record.
  • Counseling: Soldiers may receive counseling from their superiors about the failure and subsequent steps.

5. Retention Implications

  • Continued Failures: Multiple or consistent failures could potentially impact a soldier’s retention in the Army.
  • Separation: In some instances, continued inability to pass the ACFT might lead to administrative separation.

6. Medical Evaluation

  • Physical Assessment: Soldiers might undergo a medical evaluation to ensure there are no underlying health issues impacting their performance.
  • Fitness Assessment: A detailed fitness assessment might be performed to understand the areas requiring improvement.

Note: The Transition Period and Updates

  • Transition: The ACFT underwent several revisions and was in a transition period, with certain aspects being evaluated and adjusted.
  • Policy Review: The policies related to the ACFT and its failures were subject to reviews and potential changes.

Failing ACFT in Basic Training

The Army might recycle you if you are in basic training and fail the ACFT test. But, on the other hand, they might give you several chances and eventually kick you out. So it depends on that leadership as well.

George N.