The Air Force wants your dress and appearance ideas

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Is there an Air Force rule on dress and appearance that doesn’t make sense and has bothered you for years? The service wants to hear about it.

The Air Force on Thursday launched a crowdsourcing campaign ask airmen and civilians for their ideas on ways to improve dress and appearance regulations.

Airmen and civilians will submit their suggestions through a platform called IdeaScale. Personnel experts will then review those ideas and decide if they should be passed on to the Air Force Uniform Board. The board will go through those ideas and make its own suggestions to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown, who will make the final call.

Ideas that are approved by the chief of staff will be enacted in the Air Force’s regulations governing dress and appearance, AFI 36-2903. If someone’s idea is rejected, that person will receive a notice explaining why.

The crowdsourcing effort comes as the Air Force has been trying to improve life for minority airmen, and reduce policies and procedures that unfairly affect them. Part of that effort has included revising dress and appearance regulations to remove references to complexion and subjective language such as “faddish.”

The Air Force also approved longer shaving waivers for airmen who have a medical condition, which primarily affects Black men, that causes painful shaving bumps.

In the release, Lisa Truesdale, the Air Force’s military force policy deputy director, said the service wants its dress and appearance guidance to be inclusive.

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“If we want an environment in which airmen feel valued, we need to create transformative opportunities to foster a culture of innovation and then listen to their ideas,” Truesdale said. “Additionally, wearing the uniform and having pride in your personal appearance enhances esprit de corps.”

“We are committed to considering the views of all members,” Truesdale continued. “Individuals contribute their highest levels of creativity when they are cared for and feel a sense of belonging.”

Airmen and civilians can submit ideas in these categories:

* Grooming and appearance standards, such as hairstyles, beards and shaving rules;

* Dress uniforms;

* Utility uniforms, such as the Operational Camouflage Pattern and its accessories;

* Accessories, such as jewelry, earrings, rings, purses, backpacks, gym bags, phones and headphones;

* Outer garments, such as sweaters and jackets;

* Physical training gear;

* Flight duty uniforms;

* Badges and specialty insignia, such as organizational badges, unit patches, duty identification patches and tabs;

* Maternity uniforms, including service dress uniforms, utility uniforms and accessories

About

Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.

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