WASHINGTON, April 30, 2014 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel informed members of the Congressional Black Caucus that he is ordering the military services to review grooming standards, particularly those for African-American women.
Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said Hagel directed the deputy secretary of defense to work with the service secretaries and the military chiefs to review their respective policies. The admiral made the announcement during a Pentagon news conference.
Members of the caucus sent Hagel a letter in response to changes to Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia. Members of the caucus are concerned the regulation is offensive and biased against women of color.
In a response dated yesterday, Hagel told members of the caucus that he has given the services 30 days to “review the definitions of authorized and prohibited hairstyles contained in each of their respective policies and revise any offensive language.”
The services have 90 days to review their hairstyle policies as they pertain to African-American women “to ensure standards are fair and respectful of our diverse force, while also meeting our military services’ requirements,” Kirby said. “After a thorough review of the service recommendations, he will make whatever appropriate adjustments to DOD policy are necessary.”