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About The Challenge | Photo by Lance Cpl. John Kennicutt

Competition With A Purpose

A highly innovative "Competition with a Purpose," the Battle Challenge is a unique fitness and ability-based military action sport comprised of marksmanship skills and job-related tasks that are highly relevant to the U.S. Armed Forces. Performing a series of nine tasks under pressure of time, Battle Challenge competitors race against the clock and their age and gender group opponents for the bragging rights to be the "Best of the Best" in an adrenaline filled side-by-side battle field simulation that takes place on a mirrored course.

Objective & Relevance

Each of the Armed Forces conducts physical fitness programs and tests that incorporate pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups and other fitness measures that often lack direct relevance to real-world military situations. By contrast, the Battle Challenge simulates a highly relevant series of nine tasks that mimic battle field skills and the fitness demands required to be successful under physically challenging circumstances: 1) Cargo Net Climb, 2) Knotted Rope Descent, 3) Wall Surmount, 4) Overhead Hand Traverse, 5) Low Crawl, 6) Jerry Can Shuttle, 7) Tacticl Rifle Window Shot, 8) Tactical Rifle Mousehole Shot, and 9) 200 LB Man-Down Rescue.

Competition Structure

Marksmanship is an integral part of the Battle Challenge. Prominently featured near the end of the Battle Challenge course in Task 7 and Task 8 when the heart rates are highest, the innovative Advanced Tactical Training Solutions (ATTS) rifle-laser-target technology provides industry-leading battle ground marksmanship realism, and 100% reliability in all environments.

In addition to providing skills training and an objective measure of a Battle Challenge participant’s performance in relation to military job tasks and his/her peer competitors, the Battle Challenge’s head-to-head competition takes place in a highly motivational sports setting that adds energy, enthusiasm, interest, and entertainment value for the competitors and the audience.

From start to finish, each cycle of the Battle Challenge takes an average competitor approximately three (3) minutes to complete the nine tasks. During this period, competitors have ample time to successfully perform the job tasks and to differentiate themselves from their opponents in relation to skill and fitness levels and elapsed time.

An awards ceremony recognizing top competitors in each category concludes the competition and training program.

The Battle Challenge is: i) offered on a “turn-key” basis, ii) conducted on a concrete or asphalt area about the size of a tennis court (80 x 150 feet), and iii) managed by a team of OTC employees operating out of two trucks.  Set up takes about a day and the typical Battle Challenge lasts no more than three days. For planning purposes, competitor throughput averages between 30 and 40 service members per hour for a total of 180 to 240 competitors per six hour day – organized in two three hour sessions, with a one hour break in the middle. Four local volunteers help the Battle Challenge staff by resetting the course between runs of the competition.
Background & Development

Battle Challenge Validation
Validation is the establishment of a nexus or linkage to a criterion, as in "job-related"

The Battle Challenge has its roots in a U.S. Navy Medical Research and Development Command (NMRDC) sponsorship of a five-year study of the essential functions of the Marine Corps’ MOS 0311 (rifleman), the touchstone of the Marine Corps.

The research team from the Institute of Human Performance (IHP) fielded scientists with expertise in exercise physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, occupational and environmental medicine as well as combat veterans. We also conducted two Delphi Sessions of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) comprised of over 40 Vietnam senior enlisted and field grade officers.

Our embedded staff experience, acting in the capacity of E-3 (Lance Corporals), took us to Quantico MCB, Fort Sherman in Panama for the Jungle Survival School, Desert Operations at Twentynine Palms, CA for the CAX; the Mountain Warfare Training Center (MWTC), Bridgeport CA, and Amphibious Operations for the PHIBLEX in Hawaii.

Frequently performed, arduous or mission-critical tasks were identified and included in our taxonomy of Essential Functions, meaning, by definition, if a Marine could not perform one of these tasks, they could not fulfill the duties of an 0311. It may be inferred that these tasks are ubiquitous across all of the DOD services where ambulation, under load or proficiency with a rifle is a requirement.

Estimates of the physiological demands were determined by using Human Performance Laboratory data from the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC), East Carolina University’s Human Performance Laboratory and the University of Hawaii’s Exercise Physiology Laboratory, where individual Marines' fitness measures would be used as a calibration for the energy costs to perform combat-simulated tasks in Battalion-sized operations.

The nine linked military-centric tasks that comprise the elements of the Battle Challenge platform are performed to the written standard on our website and based upon total time to completion, with two marksmanship components integrated into the course.

In the table below, fitness components, capacities, and dimensions are weighted on a 10-point Likert scale for each task.
The Fitness constructs that explain human performance are defined thusly:

•Muscular Strength: measured against resistance and expressed against mass (kilograms or pounds) for one repetition
•Muscular Endurance: The ability to repeat contractions of a muscle or muscle group expressed as “reps” where resistance can be a weight or one’s body
•Power (speed): Exertion or force mass x distance divided by time; e.g.: moving an object or one’s own body, expressed as horsepower, watts (1HP = 550 ft/lbs, 746 watts)
•Agility: The ability to change or control the direction of movement quickly
•Aerobic Power: The ability to take up and utilize oxygen and metabolize energy substrates to propel the body or perform repetitive activities for periods greater than a minute; expressed in Liters of O2 per minute (absolute) or relative to body weight in Kilograms per minute (STPD)
•Balance: The ability to maintain one’s center of gravity over a base of support. A Y/N measurement based upon a host of activities
•Flexibility: The range of motion associated with all of the moveable joints of the body; measured with a goniometer in degrees
•Coordination: The ability to incorporate movement patterns of the extremities in an efficient outcome
•Reaction Time: The period of time from the creation of a signal and the musculoskeletal system’s movement

The aerobic power component increases because of the downstream fatigue effects

The Military Battle Challenge

Battle Challenge | 15312 Spencerville Court | Suite 100 | Burtonsville, MD | 20866
contact [at] battlechallenge.org | 301.421.4433

Learn more about On•Target Challenge properties:
Firefighter Combat Challenge | LEOPARD Challenge | First Responder Institute | FFCC.TV