For almost a century, the U.S. military has been a pioneer in the field of using aptitude tests to evaluate an individual’s potential for service. The organization also uses the test to determine aptitude for various military occupational specialties (MOS). The use of aptitude tests began during World War I. While the group-administered Army Alpha test measured verbal and numerical ability as well as general knowledge, the Army Beta test was used to evaluate illiterate, unschooled and non-English speaking volunteers and draftees. The Army and Navy General Classifications Tests replaced the Alpha and Beta tests as a means to measure cognitive ability during World War II. The results of these tests, as well as additional classification exams, were used to assign recruits to a particular MOS.
The various armed forces adopted all of those aspects in 1976. At that point in time, the test was in its written form rather than today’s more common form (computerized test format). The written form covers all of the previously mentioned areas as well, which is why both forms are still available. All-in-all that answers the question concerning the intention of the test.