United States Army is adopting a made in Canada approach

May 18, 2021 - Defence Stories


The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Physical Employment Standard (FORCE) is gender free, as the passing score is the same regardless of age or gender

The United States Army is adopting a made in Canada approach to incentivising fitness on its annual physical employment standard.

“The US Army will use a scale for rewards with Green, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Rewards will be used for promotions and order of merit,” says Michael McGurk, the Director of Research, US ARMY CIMT-TRADOC, Army Combat Fitness Test.

In Canada, the highest achievers receive prizes such as athletic wear for silver, gold, and platinum performance.

The US Army might also use the incentives in its selection for elite schools, like the Army Ranger School.

The idea was discussed at various scientific collaborative meetings for which both Canada and the US are represented, such as NATO research groups and the International Congress on Soldiers Physical Performance in February 2020, hosted by CFMWS (Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services), in Quebec City.

Dr. Tara Reilly is the Acting National Manager, Human Performance Research & Development, CFMWS.

She says the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Physical Employment Standard (FORCE) is gender free, as the passing score is the same regardless of age or gender. However, incentivization is determined based on age and gender category. A CAF member is compared to the performance of other CAF personnel in their age/gender category to determine if they have achieved gold, silver, bronze, etc.  This concept/model is what the US Army has adopted from Canada.

Reilly and McGurk agree both countries share a lot when it comes to military physical training.

“We acknowledge and thank our Canadian friends for the research, guidance and inspiration to allow us to adapt our version of your work,” says McGurk.

Reilly pointed out it is important to note that the CAF also incentivizes “health-related fitness” which was a concept adopted from the USAF (US Air Force) as they assess cardiovascular fitness and waist circumference to predict longevity.

“We are proud CFMWS/PSP work has influenced the US Army and appreciate that this wouldn’t have happened without the engagement and support of both the CAF and CFMWS/PSP Leadership,” says Reilly. 

Reilly added, working with US military scientists on health or exercise physiology research has always been a very rewarding collaboration.

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