Cotton: US Army’s Affirmative Action for Women ‘Is Going to Get People Killed’

It was gratifying to watch Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton questioning Christine Wormuth, the first female Secretary of the Army, at a recent Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

Sen. Cotton, a Ranger-qualified infantry veteran, respectfully chastised Wormuth for the “fiasco” that the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) has become. For the past three years, the Army has tried but failed to implement “gender-neutral” standards in the new Combat Fitness Test — mainly because of high failure rates among female trainees. . .

Nevertheless, after several versions of the ACFT failed, this year the Army dropped sex neutrality and reinstated sex-norming. Secretary Wormuth acknowledged the Army’s stunning reversal, suggesting that the new ACFT was “more challenging.” Cotton responded bluntly: “The new standards are pathetic — They are absolutely pathetic.”

Cotton noted that soldiers qualifying for the infantry will have to do only 10 push-ups instead of 35. He also quoted the Army’s Frequently Asked Questions webpage stating that commanders may not set higher standards for acceptance or retention in a combat unit. “This,” said Cotton, “is going to get people killed.” . . .

The ACFT project, initiated by then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Defense Secretary Mark Esper, always was controversial. The previous physical fitness test involved sex-normed sit-ups, push-ups, and a two-mile run that could be done anywhere. The new six-event Combat Fitness Test required expensive equipment, sex- and age-neutral standards, and considerable time to prepare for and administer the test. (Read more from “Cotton: US Army’s Affirmative Action for Women ‘Is Going to Get People Killed’” HERE)

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