Revised Army Combat Fitness Test!

The Revised Army Combat Fitness Test Events and Implementation Timeline

On March 23rd, Secretary of the Army, Christine Wormuth issued an Army Directive outlining a time-phased implementation of a revised ACFT as the Army’s general physical fitness test.

Changes made to the ACFT incorporate feedback from Soldiers and independent analysis of test performance.

Among the key changes announced by the Army are new age-and-gender-performance normed scoring scales; the replacement of the leg tuck with the plank for the core-strength assessment; and the addition of the 2.5-mile walk as an alternate aerobic event.

Revised ACFT Grading Scales are based on age and gender

A common concern identified by the Army’s independent analysis and the RAND study was that a gender-neutral test might not accurately measure all Soldiers’ general physical fitness levels. The Army designed the new scoring scales from nearly 630,000 ACFT performance scores, historical performance rates from the APFT, and scoring scales used by other military services.

Overview of Army ROTC’s New Talent Based Branching Process

The Army has 17 different branches for Cadets to compete for.  Being selected into one of the branches is the culmination of an assessment process that begins from the very first day a Cadet enters the ROTC program.  Beginning with Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 the U.S. Army has implemented a new system to branch Cadets from its 274 ROTC programs across the country.   The Army calls the new system Talent Based Branching.

The prior accessions process ranked all Cadets across the nation based off of factors such as their GPA, physical fitness test score, Advanced Camp performance, volunteer work, Color Guard participation, Ranger Challenge team, etc.  During the beginning of their senior year, Cadets ranked in order of preference which of the 17 branches in the Army they want to assess into. The Army’s accessions process then uses the various factors mentioned to help decide which branch they will receive.

With Talent Based Branching, all these prior factors are still considered.  The below FY21 chart shows the importance each of these factors has on how Cadets rank in the national Order of Merit List (OML).

FY 21 OML Model for Army ROTC

Before the OML score is was what largely determined what branch a Cadet received; with Talent Based Branching, Cadets will also have the opportunity to interview with the branches they are interested in.  The opportunity to interview each Cadet will allow the branches to learn more about each applicant to better inform branching decisions besides looking at an OML score.  After the interview process the branches will then rank order their Cadet preferences.  The below graphics show a simple explanation of how the process will work.

Talent Based Branching
In this example, there are four cadets: James, Sarah, Rich, and Laura; and three branches: Cyber, Aviation, and Engineers. Each cadet rank orders their preferences for ALL branches, and each branch does the same for ALL cadets.

James ranked Aviation first. James’s file suggests an alignment with Aviation’s talent demands, plus he nailed his interview, becoming their number one choice. Because James matches Aviation, he isn’t considered for other branches.

Meanwhile, Sarah ranked Engineers first, but Engineers ranked Sarah 4th. Her file didn’t show the strongest talent alignment with Engineers, and she didn’t interview to make her case. She’s tentatively matched with Engineers while the branching process continues to run.

As we move to Rich, we see that he ranked Cyber first, and Cyber ranked Rich number one due to a strong talent alignment that his interview helped confirm. Because they are a one-to-one match, Cyber closes out and Rich isn’t considered for other branches.

Laura ranked Engineers as her first choice, and Engineers ranked Laura 2nd. She is therefore matched with Engineers because they have just one slot and find her a better talent match than Sarah.

As a result, Sarah is now considered for Aviation, her 2nd choice. Because Sarah is Aviation’s best remaining candidate, she is awarded their final slot.

Since Laura branched engineer, her first choice, this allowed Sarah to branch Aviation even though Aviation had her ranked third.

At the end of the Talent Based Branching process this how it plays out in this simple example. Remember that in the real world this accession process will involve thousands of Cadets.

Talent Based Branching is a brand new system for accessing Army ROTC Cadets that will likely see modifications as it is implemented.  The ultimate goal of it will remain the same which is allowing Cadets to have more of a say in what branches they access into.  At EWU Army ROTC we remain committed to informing our Cadets of all the latest information in the Talent Based Branching process.  If anyone has any questions about Talent Based Branching please leave a comment below and we will do our best to answer it.

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags!

The Army ROTC 2021 Accessions Timeline

FY21 Accessions Timeline

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Advanced Camp training that generally third year Army ROTC Cadets attend was cancelled this summer.  The annual training Cadets that go through at Advanced Camp will instead be made up during the school year by individual ROTC programs.  However, the cancellation of Advanced Camp along with the implementing of the new branching process has caused many changes to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 accessions timeline.  The below chart shows the latest information on the FY2021 Accessions Timeline. This timeline applies only to Cadets who are commissioning in FY2021.  MS-IV Cadets that commission in FY22 are expected to attend Advanced Camp and receive an updated accessions timeline.

Upcoming Key Dates:

  • 20 July – 7 September – HireVue Interview Period
  • 15 Aug – FY21 Cohort Master Roster (Verified) due to HQ USACC, ASD, ORSA
  • 31 August – Cadets give final Component Preferences (Not Branch Prefs) to HRAs
  • 1 September – If AV “candidate” – Class 1A Flight Physicals completed
  • 7 September – Cadet File updated with final Interim Branch Preferences
  • 5 October – Educational Delay packets due to HQ, USACC
  • 8 October – If AV “candidate” – Class 1A Flight Physicals Completed
  • 18 October – Component Selection results released
  • 19 October – Branch Ratings released to Cadets via TBB Website
  • 26 October – Cadet Final Branch Preferences Due
  • 16-20 November – USACC Branching Board
  • 20 November – Release December/January Branching Assignments
  • 2 December – Release of Spring 21 Branching Assignments
  • 1 February 2021 – If AV “selectee” – Class 1A Flight Physical “Qualified”


From 20 July-07 September, Cadets branching in FY21 need to be conducting their interviews with the branches they are interested in over the HireVue app.  Any Cadet that has not received an email from HireVue needs to immediately contact their HRA.  The branches will view the HireVue interviews and then contact Cadets for follow up interviews.  These interviews are extremely important in the branching process and Cadets need to take them seriously.  Make sure you either wear your uniform or dress formally for the interview.  Ensure you shave, get a haircut, and groom yourself appropriately.  You only have one chance to make a good first impression!


Component Selection

By August 31, 2020 all Cadets will need to submit to their HRA what their final component choice is.  By component this means whether you want to go on Active Duty or be part of the National Guard or Army Reserves.  Cadets that are on a Guaranteed Forces Duty (GRFD) scholarship must access into either the National Guard or Army Reserves as specified in the scholarship contract.  On October 18, 2020 is when accessing Cadets will learn will component they accessed into.  The below chart provides details on how the component selection process works.


By September 07, 2020 is when Cadets must have their interim branch preferences submitted to their HRA and Cadets must also update their branch preferences on the Talent Based Branching (TBB) website as well. Cadets must also specify on the TBB website whether they want to submit a Branch Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) for the branches they are interested in.  Cadets can now submit as many Branch ADSO’s as they want.  What the ADSO does is move the Cadet to the top of the bin that the branch has rated the cadet.  Each branch gives Cadets either a “Least Preferred”, “Preferred”, or “Most Preferred” rating.  The ADSO does not allow Cadets to jump bins, it just puts the Cadet at the top of their rated bin.

talent based branching

Cadets also volunteer for branch detail assignments through the TBB website as well.  A branch detail means you serve in one branch for your lieutenant years before transitioning into another branch when promoted to Captain.  Volunteering for a branch detail can increase your odds of receiving a high demand branch.  Cadets have until September 07, 2020 to update the TBB website with ADSO and Branch Detail preferences

On October 19, 2020 all accessing Cadets will receive their branch ratings through the TBB website.  Cadets can then use these preferences to inform their final branching decision.  For example if a Cadet has Infantry initially ranked #1 and Armor #2, but Infantry gave the Cadet a “preferred” rating and Armor gave a “most preferred” rating; the Cadet has the opportunity to change Armor to #1 to ensure they branch armor.  Any changes to Cadet branch preferences based off of the interim branch preferences need to be made by October 26, 2020.  For Cadets who are commissioning in the Fall 2020 term they will receive their final branching assignment on November 20, 2020 and Cadets commissioning in the Spring 2021 term will receive their branch assignment on December 02, 2020.

Good luck to all the FY21 Cadets going through the new branching process.  If anyone has any questions regardless of which ROTC program they belong to, feel free to leave a comment and we will get back to you with a response.

Go ROTC!  Go Fighting Eags!