Navy Working Uniform Now Authorized Off Base

Story Number: NNS090626-27Release Date: 6/26/2009 7:11:00 PM
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By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Bill Houlihan, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy Working Uniform (NWU) is now authorized for wear off-base, during routine stops and at eating establishments during the prescribed workday.

In NAVADMIN 188/09, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Gary Roughead, expanded the occasion for wear policy, which has been in place for six months.

Roughead consistently stated that the possibility for changing the policy hinged upon a timetable driven by the Navy's chiefs' mess.

Once the leadership mess provided feedback to Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) (SS/SW) Rick West, indicating that Sailors across the Navy understood the correct manner to wear the uniform, it was understood that he would recommend to CNO and Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP), Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, when the time was right to allow the uniform off base.

According to West, that time is now.

"Communication from the Force and Fleet Master Chiefs has been unanimously positive. Our Sailors are ready to introduce this uniform to the American public," said West. "That's what CNO was waiting for and this decision is a direct result of chief petty officer (CPO) feedback. It's been sincerely gratifying to be able to watch this process work as well as it has."

The policy differs from the language in NAVADMIN 343/08 in that, up to now, routine stops were not allowed. That meant Sailors were prohibited from visits to child care centers, gas stations, brief stops at convenience stores or banks. Now those stops are authorized.

"Our Sailors are proud of this uniform," said MCPON. "This has been the number one feedback item from the fleet since I took office, (Dec. 12, 2008) and they have not been shy about their wishes to wear this uniform in town. Our Sailors have been trained to wear it and will wear it proudly."

West underscored the importance of waiting for the right time to open up the occasion for wear policy. He said that while many wondered why the original wear policy was put in place, it was important to ensure every Sailor knew how to wear it before allowing it outside the lifelines of ships and bases. He also said he kept a close eye on various regions to see how aggressive leadership was in training the fleet to wear the NWU.

"I watched Navy Region Mid-Atlantic and I saw how the chiefs in that region were engaged in getting this right from day one. The training was consistent and it was effective. They deserve a lot of credit for the expanded policy, because they did it the right way in the largest fleet concentration area. Leaderships engagement coupled with Sailor feedback was what drove this recommendation (to expand the policy) to CNP and CNO."

The revision includes aligning the NWU and Camouflage Utility Uniforms (CUUs) occasion for wear policies and offers more flexibility than the rules governing the wear of other working uniforms.

The transition to the NWU will continue as stipulated in NAVADMIN 343/08. Multiple regions across the United States and overseas are still not wearing the NWU due to distribution constraints, so West pointed out that the manner of wear policy is even more critical now as Sailors transfer to those areas. Leadership (CO/CMC) has been authorized to wear the NWU since December and should already be wearing it in the areas where Sailors will soon be showing up.

"We have people rolling from one region to another and coming from boot camp, wearing the NWU. I'm looking to them as the Sailors who are going to meet the standards as set forth in the NAVADMIN and the Uniform Regulations, but more importantly, I expect the CPO mess to maintain the standards expected of our high caliber Sailors," said West.

The NAVADMIN also states that wear of the NWU/CUU will be restricted inside the National Capital Region (NCR). Navy personnel on staffs located in or visiting the NCR will not be able to wear the NWU or CCU as their uniform of the day. Commanders, according to the message, may prescribe the NWU/CUU for those Sailors in the NCR requiring that uniform for work that would soil the uniform of the day.

"I look forward to seeing the public's reaction to our new uniform," said West. "And I know our Sailors are eager to get out there and show it off."

For more news from the fleet, visit

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West during an all hands call with the Sailors aboard the USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44).
090414-N-9818V-275 NORFOLK (April 14, 2009) "The rest of the nation found out this week what we've known for a long time. We are an 'any mission, anytime, anywhere' Navy. We had Sailors on station, ready to do what was necessary. And when the call came, their performance was flawless," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Rick West during an all hands call with the Sailors aboard the USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jennifer A. Villalovos/Released)
April 15, 2009
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