Changes to PAST/ASVAB requirements

I have seen that the PAST standards have been changed to the same standard for PJ,CCT and SR. Correct me if I am wrong, but, from what I have been told the reasoning behind this change was to give a candidate the chance to change AFSCs during SW prep without having to take another PAST for a different SW AFSC, and it gives the ability for the cadre to recommend you try out for a different SW AFSC if they feel you are a better fit in that particular SW AFSC. My question for everyone on this forum is, with the SW community trying to move to one standard for all SW AFSCs, will the ASVAB requirements be changing to one standard as well? If so will it be changing to a General score of 44 as it already is for PJ(this is what I would assume would happen, being they are trying to allow as many individuals the chance to try out) or, will the PJ score be changed to meet the M55 of CCT?


Staff member
It appears the a cookie cutter, or one size fits all, or common unisex initial fitness assessment to all the BA/Special Warfare fitness standard as the prerequisite AFSPECWAR Assessment and Selection (A&S) course is implemented. This Fitness (PAST) implementation handwriting was on the wall in invisible ink as early as 1993 that was rewritten in a bit more visible writing on the wall during January 2013. The deemphasis of PAST plus better being the graduation standard is beneficial as strong like bull encouraged fitness ability having greater importance than mental fitness and emotional fitness. This resulted in a lot of strong like bull smart like tractor candidates showing up believing all they needed to do is swim, run, and do a lot of calisthenics. The changes keep fitness in its proper place while concurrently putting mental fitness, emotional fitness, and cognitive abilities on equal footing with fitness in the screening and assessment process.

The suggestion of chance to change AFSCs, due to common PAST prerequisite for all the AFSCs, during SW prep without having to take another PAST for a different SW AFSC is more of an illusion than an actual substantive change. Such ability to encourage and divert those was previously only ever applicable to trying to switch from CCT, SOWT, TACP, EOD or SERE to Pararescue after a voluntary SIE or involuntary elimination from the required Courses of Initial Entry for those AFSCs. During 1988 thru 2001 there was specific policy implemented as result of lessons learned in the AFIs that CCT/PJ candidate who SIEed or was eliminated from one was ineligible and not qualified for the other. Unless other classification changes are implemented, the opportunity to change AFSCs prior to completing the AFSPECWAR Assessment and Selection (A&S) course and the Pre-dive course (Lackland immediately after the AFSPECWAR Assessment and Selection (A&S) course) still adheres to a pattern that has existed for decades.

The former PJ Indoc Course was transformed into the Pre-dive course which at the moment is the course PJ candidates are required to go through after completing AFSPECWAR Assessment and Selection (A&S) course. So other than course name changes nothing has actually changed pertinent to switching candidate into the most suitable to their abilities COIE training pipeline.

PAST and Tier II (occupational specific fitness standards) have no correlation or connection to what the ASVAB test battery and TAPAS test assessment criteria determine. It is unlikely those requirements will change unless the required core skills and knowledge of the specialty changes.

Much of the dilemma of recruiting for the BA/Special Warfare enlisted specialties is Pararescue quickly established a clear career identity connected to an operational capability necessity back in 1946. Over coming the dilemma requires gaining the clear career identity with clear unchanging operational capability utilization Pararescue has benefited from since 1946 which during past decades gave advantage in attracting new volunteers.

Special Warfare is gaining popularity as a career field designation for the same reason the Woke movement is gaining popularity. It gives appearances of delivering getting into one specialty is the same as getting into the others as there is no real difference between how the specialties are utilized to get something done. Often comparison is made that the change will make the BA AFSCs similar to the Army's 18 series Special Forces Branch MOSs. Unfortunately omitted from the discussion is the 18S Special Forces Medic screening, selection, and required entry training pipeline has considerably higher attrition than the other enlisted 18 series MOS experience.

The USN SEALs obtained a career NEC/RATE effective 8 May 2006, shortly after this the utilization Navy Corpsman supporting the SEAL teams became SEALs going through the SOCOM (SOF/18D) medical courses. Considering PJs are still occasionally being medics for the SEAL teams one can only suspect there is as high an attrition rate for the SEALs being trained as medics as it is for everybody else trying to successfully get through this course.

The lack of a clear career identity combined with unclear operational capability purposes impaired recruitment attractiveness for many of the BA/Special Warfare specialties other than pararescue for decades. CCT provides the best example as a clear career identity connected to an unchanging operational capability utilization didn't begin to solidify until the 1980s. CCT training attrition rates were almost nonexistent until 1988.

When a CCT AFSC, actually a AFSC alpha shred, suffix D, of the Air Traffic Controller AFSC, was established effective 1 July 1971, the duty description was simply "Provides terminal air traffic services, other than control tower services, where terminal services are not provided or are inoperative." This is basically referring to establishing an airhead at a seized airfield. The operational necessity to be pathfinders had been abandoned many years earlier. There was no established screening and assessment of volunteers as was in place for Pararescue. The same pattern along a different timeline exists for TACP and SOWT. Unfortunately, SOWT rename to Special Reconnaissance may be nothing more than a change to validate and justify a clear career path connected to a needed ground reconnaissance operational capability.

Much of the current SOWT specialty description is a redundant overlap of the Pararescue, CCT, TACP specialties and 19D cavalry scout (also known as Infantry Scout) MOS. Directly linking the SOWT training pipeline to CCTs established being in one is the same as being in the other. The SOF-TACP screening and selection did the same for TACP assigned to AFSOC units. This redundancy and how special operations weather/special reconnaissance will continue to fits into the Air Forces ground combat doctrine and capability is why everybody is waiting to see the new specialty title and specialty description in hopefully the April 2019 AFECD.

The name change from PJ Indoc to Predive and combat diver and both MFF and combat dive being sought to be required for award of 3-skill level AFSC is another piece of the dilemma puzzle of being in one specialty is the same as being in the other. The being one is the same as being in the other is a double edged sword in that such attracts volunteers but increases training costs and doesn't necessarily result in sufficient numbers of mission ready personnel being available and assigned to the line units.

Cavalry Scout (19D)


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