Taking Charge of Your Health and Fitness

By Vice Adm. Bill Moran
Chief of Naval Personnel

Recently, I’ve received a number of questions from Sailors throughout the fleet about changes we’re making to the PFA that take effect in January. These changes are designed to better support a culture of fitness and retain more motivated Sailors. But we’re not quite there yet. This cycle, which ends Dec. 1, is being conducted with the old PFA rules.

PORT HUENEME, Calif. (Dec. 12, 2012) Sailors from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 begin a 1.5 mile run during the Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) at Naval Base Ventura County. The Navy's PFA ensures Sailors maintain optimal health through balanced physical and mental stamina. NMCB 3 provides combatant commanders and Navy component commanders with combat-ready warfighters capable of general engineering, construction and limited combat engineering across the full range of military operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Petty Officer Chris Fahey/Released)

PORT HUENEME, Calif. (Dec. 12, 2012) Sailors from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3 begin a 1.5 mile run during the Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) at Naval Base Ventura County. The Navy’s PFA ensures Sailors maintain optimal health through balanced physical and mental stamina. NMCB 3 provides combatant commanders and Navy component commanders with combat-ready warfighters capable of general engineering, construction and limited combat engineering across the full range of military operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Petty Officer Chris Fahey/Released)

 

As we move closer to the new policy implementation and close out the current PFA cycle, here are a few important points:

1. You need to take care of business this cycle.

Sailors who are currently facing administrative separation for three failures in four years have until Dec. 1, 2015, to pass a PFA. If you pass, your failure number will be reset to one and the rest is up to you.

For Sailors with two or more previous failures entering this cycle, you must pass the PFA – prior to Dec. 1, 2015 – or you will not be able to stay in the Navy. Current BCA standards apply since the new policy does not take effect until January. If you’re out of standards, you’ll be enrolled in FEP.

2. What’s new starting Jan. 1, 2016.

We’re not lowering standards. We’re actually raising the bar. Sailors who can’t meet our standards twice in three years will be administratively separated.

BCA changes. We’ve spent more than a year studying a variety of body composition standards and have decided to adjust BCA limits. These adjustments take age and other factors like muscular body types into consideration. Starting in January, there will be three methods by which to pass the BCA.  First, using the current height/weight tables. If Sailors don’t meet those standards, they will undergo a single-site abdominal circumference measurement next. If Sailors do not pass the BCA by the first two methods, a body circumference that measures the neck and abdomen for men, and neck, waist, and hips for women will be conducted.

Everyone takes the PRT.  The BCA will no longer be the sole determination if Sailors are able to participate in the PRT portion of the PFA. If you’re medically cleared to take the PRT, you will. Period.

3. What the future holds.

We’re increasing options for Sailors to work out.  As part of a pilot program, gym hours in select locations have been expanded so that Sailors have 24/7 access to fitness centers. We hope to expand this program fleet-wide soon.

We’re also working to increase CDC hours to give Sailors with children greater flexibility in getting to the gym when and where they can.

Additionally, we’re developing a plan to give Sailors who are out of standards greater access to dieticians. This plan also includes establishing healthy-eating pilot studies and providing more support for post-partum Sailors to re-attain or exceed previous fitness goals.

Changes to the PRT.  There is a working group looking at potential changes to the test, but we haven’t made any decisions yet. When we do, we’ll let you know.

PRT Recognition.  We’re still looking at developing a ribbon that recognizes top PFA performers. Nothing final yet for this either.

Your wellness DOES affect fleet readiness. While we continue to strengthen our commitment to fitness, it’s important for all of us to recognize that each of us is responsible for meeting standards and better health.

We appreciate your feedback along the way developing this policy change. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

See you in the Fleet.

CNP

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