What is it?
The U.S. Army is committed to implementing policies that promote inclusivity throughout the ranks. To ensure a standard of equity and based on a July 2020, DOD-directed review, the Army has updated the grooming and hairstyle policies. The updates, announced Jan. 26, 2021, will be effective Feb. 25, 2021, and directly support the Army’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
What are the current and past efforts of the Army?
The Army revised Army Regulation (AR) 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia and Department of the Army Pamphlet (DA PAM) 670-1 to incorporate previously announced changes (May 2017 to December 2020) in uniform policy and procedures. Major updates include:
- Policy implementation of the Army Green Service Uniform
- Authorization for female Soldiers who are breastfeeding or pumping to wear an optional undershirt
- Changes the Shoulder Sleeve Insignia from Former Wartime Service to Military Operations in Hostile Conditions.
The Army has updated its grooming standards to address the disparate impact on female Soldiers. Army senior leaders approved hairstyle changes that promote diversity and inclusion and improve the health of the force. The updates, based on medical (dermatology) considerations, as well as feedback from Soldiers across the force, are authorized as follows:
- No minimum hair length for female Soldiers
- Multiple hairstyles to be worn at once, such as braiding twists or locs
- Ponytails for Soldiers unable to form a bun
- Highlights (uniform blend of colors)
- Optional wear of earrings in the Army Combat Uniform for Female Soldiers
- Solid lip and nail colors (nonextreme) for female Soldiers
- Clear nail polish for male Soldiers
The revisions also remove potentially offensive language used to describe several hairstyles and replaces with appropriate terminology for unauthorized grooming and appearance standards.
The uniform and/or grooming changes, approved after December 2020, will be included in the next update to the AR 670-1.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned?
The Army is a learning organization, and will continue to gather input from individual Soldiers. Army leaders believe that innovation is not confined by rank or unit, and Soldiers are encouraged to share their policy suggestions with the Army.
Why is this important to the Army?
Pride in the wear of the uniform is important for the Soldiers. Army uniforms embody the professionalism and commitment to the Army Values.
The updates reflect the Army’s commitment to fostering an environment that promotes and facilitates diversity, equity and inclusion. Inclusive policies foster the ability to recruit and retain the top talent.