The FBI has a new challenge for its agents: passing a physical fitness test.
The test marks the first time in 16 years that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking its agents to meet goals for fitness. Agents will have to achieve a passing score that includes points for completing various challenges, including sit-ups, push-ups, a 300-meter sprint and a 1.5-mile run.
The fitness test comes in response to the changing nature of the FBI force, which has become more deskbound and sedentary as agents increasingly focus on cyber terrorism and international threats. The test is meant to refocus agents on physical fitness so they can meet minimum standards, particularly when they must chase suspects or react to public incidents.
The bureau’s approximately 13,500 agents will be required to pass the fitness test, as will all new applicants.
“You’ve got to be in great shape and be able to withstand the physical rigors of the job to be a special agent,” the FBI Academy tells potential recruits on its website.
The fitness trials are given in quick succession, with just five minutes of rest between each portion of the test. Scoring is on a scale of -2 to 10 and agents must attain a total score of at least 12.
For example, male agents will get a score of 3 if they complete 43 or 44 sit-ups within a minute. Female agents, who account for about 20% of the bureau’s force, will need to complete 41 or 42 sit-ups. In the 1.5-mile run, women who cross the finish line in a time of about 12 minutes 30 seconds will earn a score of 3. Men will have to shave about a minute off that time in order to bag 3 points.
Among other mandatory requirements, candidates for employment as an FBI special agent must be U.S. citizens between the ages of 23 and 36 and have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college.
In addition to the fitness requirements, applicants to the bureau also must meet training goals for academics, firearms, operational skills and leadership. New recruits get about 21 weeks of training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia, before being assigned to one of the agency’s more than 50 field offices.