SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Task Force Uniform (TFU) introduced a set of service uniform concepts for Sailors E-6 and below Dec. 8, in response to the fleet’s feedback on current uniforms. The new uniforms, which will begin wear-testing this winter, were unveiled at Naval Medical Center San Diego at an All Hands call with CNO-directed Command Master Chief (SS) Robert B. Carroll, the director of Task Force Uniform.
The service uniform concepts will offer a choice between two different color and fabric shirts (khaki or gray and poly/wool blends) with Navy blue trousers.
The uniform is being designed to replace summer white, winter blue and tropical white, consolidating them into one year-round service uniform for E-6 and below. Service dress uniforms, such as “cracker jacks” and service dress white jumpers will not be affected by this wear test.
Carroll said the concepts are only the initial version of what the service uniform may ultimately look like. TFU is introducing a set of concept uniforms to assist in deciding exactly what uniforms Sailors will be wearing.
“We are asking Sailors to review what we have designed and provide us feedback on a variety of different aspects of the uniform design of what we are calling the service blue uniform,” said Carroll. “It’s important for everyone to understand that we are not talking about service dress uniforms here. These concepts, if approved, will replace the summer whites and winter blues that E-6 and below currently are wearing in shore staff/office environments.”
“We’re not changing the uniforms for the sake of change,” said Carroll. “We’re doing this because Sailors in the fleet indicated (during the 2003 fleetwide uniform survey) this is something that needs to happen.”
The TFU initiative began after Sailors in the fleet expressed their concerns about the current status of Navy uniforms. In response to those fleet concerns, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Vern Clark determined there should be an evaluation of the uniform requirements.
Upon completion of a Navywide survey last year, TFU went to work on interpreting more than 40,000 surveys with the help of an organizational psychologist to determine what Sailors desired.
The survey found that Sailors E-6 and below were the least satisfied group in the Navy with their current service uniforms. Some of the dissatisfaction factors expressed included the impracticality of white uniforms, unflattering and non-functional designs, lacking a professional appearance in comparison to other services and seasonal change requirements.
“For example, the problem that Sailors found was that if they brush up against anything that is not entirely clean, they end up with a very noticeable mark on their whites,” said Carroll. “And a stain of any size or color on a pair of whites renders them useless.”
With the CNO’s approval for a wear test, the Navy is working to provide as many possible options and solution for Sailors to choose from during the wear-test period.
Among the options will be:
- Grey versus khaki short-sleeved shirt
- Sewn-in military creases vs. pressed creases
- Rating badge versus collar device
- Dry clean versus wash and wear
- Open or closed-face belt buckles for males
- Over blouse design for females
- Redesigned beltless skirts with kick pleats for females
- Redesigned beltless slacks for females
- Reinforced garrison caps (two styles)
The Navy will keep the Navy blue trousers and optional skirts that look similar to the winter blue uniform, but will improve the fabric and design. One of the most noticeable differences will be the contrast between the male and female uniforms.
For females, both the slacks and optional skirts will be beltless, and the khaki or grey top will be an over-blouse design. For males, the uniform will be of similar style to the current winter blue and summer white uniform, but with improved fabric quality. Both shirts will be tested for their balance between comfort and appearance with different polyester and wool fabric blends.
Force Master Chief (SW/AW) Karen O’Connor, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, said she believes the design of the female uniform directly addresses issues brought up in the fleet-wide survey.
“The uniform survey showed that female Sailors were particularly concerned with the fit and design of their service uniforms," said O'Connor. "I believe the over-blouse design has a more professional, streamlined look."
The director of TFU said although each service uniform seems to address the concerns of the fleet, a test of how the uniforms will truly respond to the needs of Sailors can only be determined by a fleetwide wear-test and evaluation before being mass produced.
“We realize that there are Sailors out there who are eager to receive a year-round service uniform, but we are determined to do this the right way and come up with a year round service uniform that our Sailors will appreciate," Carroll said.
Fleet Master Chief (AW/SW) Jon Thompson, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, said the purpose of TFU is not about changing colors - it’s about addressing issues Sailors have faced for a very long time.
“The vision of Task Force Uniform is to give Sailors a cost-effective set of uniforms presenting a professional appearance, recognizing naval heritage, and offering versatility, safety, ease of maintenance and storage, utility and comfort," said Thompson. "These uniforms were designed to do exactly that."
The fleetwide wear test scheduled to begin this winter will be conducted at commands around the world and across the spectrum of different climates. A total of approximately 550 participants, both male and female, will wear-test these concept uniforms among each of the following commands/locations:
- Center for Naval Leadership, Little Creek, Va.
- Center for Naval Leadership, Coronado, Calif.
- Commander, Fleet Activity Yokosuka, Yokosuka, Japan
- Commander, Fleet Air Mediterranean, Naples, Italy
- Commander, Naval Forces Japan, Yokosuka, Japan
- Commander, Pacific Fleet, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii
- Naval Air Technical Training Center, Pensacola, Fla.
- Naval Personnel Command, Millington, Tenn.
- Naval Submarine School, New London, Conn.
- OPNAV, Washington, D.C.
- Training Support Center, Great Lakes, Ill.
- U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Norfolk, Va.
Issues with dress uniforms, as well as service uniforms for E-7 and above, will be addressed later to see if any future changes are needed.
For more information about Task Force Uniform, or to view or download photos, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/tfu.
For related news, visit the Task Force Uniform Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/tfu.