Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced Sunday plans to evaluate and redesign elements of the female service dress uniform for both officers and enlisted beginning no later than May of 2014.
The approved proposal was originally made by Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Bill Moran and involved the redesign of the Service Dress Blue uniform worn by female sailors E1-E6 and the female combination cover for E7 and above.
He submitted a plan that, according to Mabus, balances the importance for uniformity with cost and functionality.
The new E1-E6 service dress blue female uniform blends uniformity and tradition. The jumper and Dixie cup, tailored for female form and functionality, will match the recently redesigned (but not yet issued) male jumper -closely resembling the iconic image of the “Lone Sailor.”
Following completion of a fit evaluation on the female jumper style uniform and dixie cup, there will be a combined fleet introduction of the new female uniform and the previously approved male redesigned SDB uniform.
The female combination cover for E-7 and above will be redesigned to more closely resemble the male version, but will fit a woman’s head in size and proportion. It was clear in the feedback from the recent test that simply issuing a male cover to females did not result in satisfactory fit or appearance. Similarly, lessons learned from the fit evaluation will be used to inform the design of the female cover.
“These changes ensure greater uniformity in our service and ceremonial dress, but more importantly, they send a clear signal that we are one in dress, one in standard and one in team. As you look out across a group of Sailors, you ought to see, not female and male Sailors, but Sailors,” said Mabus.
Uniform officials say that further changes to female uniforms are likely, as the uniform board reviews and deliberates additional ways to improve uniformity and functionality.