The Roles of Perseverance, Cognitive Ability, and Physical Fitness in U.S. Army Special Forces Assessment and Selection
Final rept. Dec 2008-Oct 2009
ARMY RESEARCH INST FOR THE BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES FORT BRAGG NC SCIENTIFIC COORDINATION OFFICE
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The U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences ARI conducted research for more than a decade in support of U.S. Army Special Operations Forces ARSOF assessment, selection, and training. This research was completed prior to the events of September 11, 2001. Leaders at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School SWCS at Fort Bragg, NC, requested that ARI begin updating research in support of Special Forces. This report documents a new effort to understand better the roles of cognitive ability, physical fitness, and performance events in the Special Forces Assessment and Selection SFAS process. In addition, researchers identified a measure of perseverance, viewed as an individual Soldier characteristic, to include in the investigation at the SWCSs request. The 824 Candidates who participated in this research completed a series of cognitive ability tests, physical fitness measures, SFAS performance events, and the test of perseverance. The results showed that almost all the tests and measures included in the analyses contributed to valid predictions of Soldier success with SFAS, but that their individual strengths of prediction varied. The SFAS performance events provided the greatest predictive strength, followed by the cognitive ability and physical fitness tests. While perseverance provided a unique contribution, its role was incremental, at best, and should not be used as a criterion for selection decisions in isolation from the other measures. Taken together, the tests and measures form an empirically-sound foundation upon which SFAS decisions can be based. Once obtained and analyzed, the outcome data from the Special Forces Qualification Course SFQC and subsequent training will provide a more complete view of how well the tests and measures included in this research predict long-term success in Army Special Forces.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations
- Military Forces and Organizations