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New physical endurance test will be required for U.S. Navy recruits starting Jan. 1

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The Navy is raising the standards for recruits. Soon, recruits will be required to pass a 1.5-mile running test before beginning the eight-week boot camp. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Starting Jan. 1, U.S. Navy recruits will be required to pass a 1.5-mile running test before beginning the eight-week boot camp.

The new requirement is part of the physical fitness assessment that all Navy recruits must pass, according to The Virginian-Pilot. Men will have 16 minutes, 10 seconds to complete the run. Women will have 18 minutes, seven seconds. The current evaluation includes a full health history, vision, hearing and urine tests.

Why is the Navy implementing the initial run test?

It's a way of increasing the Navy's standards for recruits. Currently, up to 70 percent of Navy recruits fail their first physical readiness test taken during the first week of boot camp.

Physical fitness is among the “key indicators of future success in the Navy,” Naval Service Training Command commander Rear Adm. Mike Bernacchi told The Pilot.

The Navy believes it can get recruits to a satisfactory level if their initial physical fitness meets this standard.

Failing the physical readiness during the first week takes away from other critical learning time, according to Bernacchi.

What's the run requirement to graduate from boot camp?

To graduate, male recruits 17-19 years old must complete the 1.5-mile run in 12:15; and  women in that age range must pass in 14:45. There are also requirements for pushups, curl-ups and a 500-yard or 450-meter swim.

How many recruits graduate annually?

According to The Pilot, about 30,000 to 40,000 graduate from the Navy's boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, each year at the cost of approximately $200 per day to taxpayers for each recruit.

What else?

Recruits who fail the initial test have 48 hours to retake it, The Pilot reported.  Those who fail the second test will be discharged with an entry level separation. They can reapply with a waiver from Navy Recruiting Command.

The initial run equates to a pace of 10:47 per mile for men and is considered "barely jogging," David Swain told The Pilot. Swain is a professor of exercise science who specializes in military fitness at Old Dominion University.

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