When the British Army decided to drop its famous ‘Be the Best’ motto because top brass felt it was too elitist, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson stepped in to save it.
Now The Mail on Sunday can reveal that troops taking an important new fitness test won’t be able to fail it.
A leaked document reveals that the current Personal Fitness Assessment (PFA), in which soldiers must reach certain targets to achieve a pass and therefore be eligible to go to war, will be replaced next April by the ‘Soldier Conditioning Review’ (SCR), for which there is ‘not a pass or fail’.
The document states: ‘The SCR is not a critical test, but results may indicate the need for personnel to attend additional fitness training (ie remedial training).’
Unlike other tests, the annual SCR will apply to all regular and reserve personnel and may include activities such as a 2km run, 30m sprints, pull-ups, vertical jumps, deadlift and seated medicine ball throw.
While the document describes the SCR as an ‘in-service diagnostic tool’ intended to rank fitness levels on a scale of one to ten and as such be an improvement on the PFA, critics suspect the change has been driven at least in part by the need to retain existing personnel and attract new recruits.
Three years ago, statistics released under Freedom of Information rules revealed more than 2,400 forces personnel had failed their annual fitness test, including 7.5 per cent of the Army.
Figures also showed that almost 10,000 forces personnel had a body mass index of more than 30, officially classing them as obese.
Unlike the PFA, the new fitness testing regime will not make allowances for someone’s gender or age.