It’s too soon to tell whether the Air Force will delay mandatory physical fitness testing past April, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass told Airmen during a Feb. 1 Facebook town hall.
Bass said she expects the service will examine the COVID-19 situation “at least” 30 days ahead of the tentative restart date before deciding whether to postpone the assessments for the fourth time since the pandemic began.
“Right now, today, every single one of your installation commanders has … the authority to be able to push it out, but we’ll make that determination … at least four weeks out if we’re gonna end up pushing it further,” she said.
Air Force First Sergeant Special Duty Manager Chief Master Sgt. Mike Perry, who also took questions during the online event, urged Airmen not to use the possibility of another delay as an excuse to neglect their physical fitness.
“You never know when that call’s gonna come in, when you’re gonna be wearing all kinds of gear and have to be out there in the austere environments and things like that, so we gotta always remain ready and fit,” he said, pointing to recent Active-duty and Air National Guard support of the presidential inauguration in Washington to illustrate the importance of around-the-clock readiness.
The service’s manpower, personnel, and services team is soon slated to brief her on the findings of their December 2020 Fitness Working Group, Bass added.
“They are supposed to come to us with options on different ways to be able to assess cardio and strength and all that goodness,” she said. “…We are also taking a hard look at wearables and technology and using that to be able to help get after that.”
Bass said the service wants to examine “second- and third-order effects” since these kinds of technologies “can be resource-intensive,” but the service is looking “to bridge the gap” between how it currently gauges fitness and how that might evolve over the next decade.
For example, Bass noted that both she and Perry were wearing rings that measured their sleep levels, joking they both needed to get more rest.