Air Force holds 100th uniform board meeting

The 100th session of the Air Force Uniform Board is in session through April 28, 2017, to review ideas and recommendations submitted by Airmen in order to improve or change Air Force uniforms, wear policy and grooming standards. The board does not come up with its own ideas, but vets ideas submitted by Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kat Bailey)

The 100th session of the Air Force Uniform Board is in session through April 28, 2017, to review ideas and recommendations submitted by Airmen in order to improve or change Air Force uniforms, wear policy and grooming standards. The board does not come up with its own ideas, but vets ideas submitted by Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kat Bailey)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- The 100th meeting of the Air Force Uniform Board convened this month to review ideas and recommendations submitted by Airmen in order to improve or change Air Force uniforms, wear policy and grooming standards.

The April 17-28 board session is also the Air Force’s third virtual uniform board, or VUB. Until 1994, boards were held quarterly. The board stood down from 1994 to 1999, and then held sessions as needed. Now, uniform boards typically convene every three to four years at the direction of the Air Force chief of staff.

“VUBs capitalize on technology and save temporary-duty expenses by providing board members access to board information at their home duty stations,” said Master Sgt. Larry Anderson, the NCO in charge of uniform board support. “Board members sign in, review the original suggestion and advisors’ inputs, discuss the suggestion with other board members via an open forum collaboration area and then cast their votes, automating what was once established as a face-to-face Air Force Uniform Board.”

The board allows direct uniform feedback from Total Force Airmen. Ideas are submitted from any level of the Air Force through uniform change requests via the Airmen Powered by Innovation link accessible through the Air Force Portal.

Uniform change requests include the recommended change and should incorporate rationale for the change.

“Any additional information describing the change is helpful for the decision makers,” Anderson said. “That includes the current item, the proposed item or change, expected benefits and any supporting documents or photos.”

The Dress and Personal Appearance office at the Pentagon, which runs the overall uniform board process, reviews the ideas to ensure the request hasn’t previously been addressed or processed. If a similar change is in progress, the newly-submitted request is returned to the submitter as a duplicate.

“Your idea might get disapproved to meet the uniform board because it’s such a good idea it’s already being researched or implemented,” Anderson said.

The remaining ideas are vetted and either moved forward for further review, or marked for disapproval. The rationale for notices of disapproval are provided to the office of the uniform board chairperson, the assistant vice chief of staff and director at Air Staff headquarters. If the disapprovals are confirmed, the submitter receives feedback on why.

The uniform change ideas that move forward are further reviewed by a group of board advisors, representatives of functional communities and members of the Uniform Enterprise Working Group, including the Army & Air Force Exchange Service and Natick Labs. They provide their organization’s position on the ideas that fall within their scope of work or operations.

“The advisors review inputs to determine if industrial and other domestic capabilities exist to support execution and make the recommendation a reality over time,” Anderson said.

Then it’s time for the VUB to vote. Voting members represent the functional communities on the Air Staff as well as each major command, and reflect Air Force demographics regarding gender, rank, race, etc. Board members recommend approval, disapproval or deferral for each uniform change request and make recommendations to the board chair and the chief master sergeant of the Air Force, the co-chair.

The Air Force chief of staff is the final approval authority and reviews the recommendations and makes the determination on what is approved, disapproved or deferred for further research.

“The approvals from the chief of staff automatically become requirements and then research and development or the drafting of policy changes begins,” Anderson said.

To submit suggestions for consideration by the Air Force Uniform Board, visit the Airmen Powered by Innovation page on the Air Force Portal. On the right side under “Search Ideas / Status of Your Ideas,” click the button marked “Submit Your Idea.”

For more information about Air Force personnel programs, go to myPers. Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one by following these instructions.