HomeNewsArticle Display

Air Force building more inclusive culture through Dress and Appearance updates

A photo of Airmen

Senior Airman Jaden Williams, 841st Missile Security Forces Squadron member, shares his experiences with racial inequality during a diversity discussion with Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Stephen W. Wilson, June 11, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. The diversity discussion included 21 Airmen ranging in rank from airman first class to lieutenant colonel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tristan Day)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- As part of the ongoing effort to build more inclusive Air and Space Forces, on July 10 the Department of the Air Force announced revisions to Air Force Instruction 36-2903, "Dress and Personal Appearance of Air Force Personnel", which are effective immediately.

The changes, as outlined in an Air Force Guidance Memorandum dated July 1, 2020, include the removal of subjective language and other rules that may have been creating unintentional or unfair barriers for Air and Space Force uniformed members. 

“As we listened to Airmen and Space Professionals, we reviewed our policies and identified language in our dress and appearance instruction that was problematic for certain groups,” said Lisa Truesdale, Air Force deputy director of military force management policy. “Ensuring inclusive language in our policies is one of the first steps in creating a more inclusive culture where all uniformed members can thrive and maximize their fullest potential.”

The changes are: 

  • Individuals granted a shaving waiver may cut or trim their facial hair. In June 2020, the Air Force’s surgeon general extended approval for shaving waivers that now remain valid for up to five years, for Airmen and Space Professionals diagnosed with Pseudofolliculitis Barbae. PFB, also known as razor bumps, is a chronic inflammatory condition that occurs more frequently in African American males. While Airmen and Space Professionals who are diagnosed with PFB will continue treatment and education on how to improve and ultimately heal the condition, the dress and appearance verbiage allows them to more readily present a neat, clean, and professional image.
  • Removal of the word “faddish”, references to complexion and associated subjectivity. Airmen across the Total Force had provided feedback that the term “faddish” was subjective, and resulted in particular demographics being disproportionately caught up by the enforcement of those rules that included the term.
  • Name tapes/tags can include diacritical accent and hyphens when it is a more accurate representation of a legal name and helps with pronunciation (e.g. Peña, Lewis-Miles, Müller, Calderón).
  • Authorization for male members to have one straight line part (cut, clipped, or shaved) on either side of their head. 
  • Removal of the restriction on combat boots height, acknowledging that some career fields require more flexibility.

For more information, Airmen should view Air Force Guidance Memorandum 2020-01 and check Air Force Instruction 36-2903 for updates, which are available on the public website of the Air Force’s Personnel Center at https://www.afpc.af.mil/Career-Management/Dress-and-Appearance/.

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.