Words by Neil Cox
The military has decided to allow leniency in regards to new appearance in dress code standards for the US troops. Previously banned allowances such as facial hair, tattoos and piercings as well as certain types of apparel are now being permitted under specific regulations. Articles of clothing including head gear like turbans, scarves and yarmulkes as well as beards and religious based tattoos will be considered for exception. These changes are being made to allow for soldiers expression of religion and spiritual faith. It is done in hopes to reduce the perception of discrimination in the expressions of religion that are unfamiliar to other soldiers and leaders.
These policy exceptions have been made to better accommodate those of the Muslim, Jewish and Sikh religion that often incorporate facial hair and particular articles of clothing as part of their religious expression, as well as other less familiar religions.
The exceptions to the standards will be permitted under the conditions that they do not have detrimental effects on mission accomplishment, military readiness, and unit cohesion. These individual expressions also must not interfere with the functionality of special and protective clothing or equipment. Each request to permit exception to these rules will be made on a case-by-case basis.