The Army’s new service uniform will be issued to incoming recruits by December and, by next spring, the World War II-styled garments should be available at Army and Air Force Exchanges across the service’s installations, officials involved in the rollout said Tuesday.
AAFES started issuing the new service uniforms last month to Army Recruiting College graduates at Fort Knox, Kentucky, said Col. Stephen Thomas, a project manager involved in the effort. By March 2021, most soldiers should be able to purchase the new uniforms across AAFES locations. However, the new uniforms won’t become mandatory until October 2027.
Other units, like the Army Band, have also started to receive the new uniforms, and many service leaders have been wearing their new greens to public events, like congressional hearings and baseball games, for months.
In the coming weeks, the Army plans to issue the new greens to drill sergeants at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; and Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
The new uniforms will cost soldiers approximately $500, which includes a coat, shirt, tie, socks, trousers, belt and a garrison cap, said Daniel Koglin, an AAFES merchandise manager.
“In introducing a new product, the price point is going to be a little higher,” said Thomas. “As we transition this program to sustainment, if you will, that price point will go down.”
Enlisted soldiers receive an annual uniform allowance of roughly $460, though officers do not. All the new uniform items are made of higher quality material and will have a longer service life, according to the Army.
“As we introduce the Army green service uniform, soldiers will continue to receive that clothing replacement allowance, which is designed to offset the cost of the [new] uniform over time,” Thomas said.
“The Army green service uniform is [also] designed to have a longer service life, which is six years, as opposed to the current Army service uniform life, which is four years,” he added.
The new uniform’s coat and trousers are made of a 55/45 poly-wool blend. The shirt is made of a 65/35 polyester-cotton blend. Brown jump boots for paratroopers who are authorized to blouse their boots, and other uniform alterations for specific units, are also being worked through.
Additionally, the new uniforms mark the first time the Army assembled a panel of women to provide feedback on how the uniform fits and feels for female soldiers.
One of that panel’s suggestions was to make trousers the default uniform item for women rather than a skirt, though the skirt will remain an optional item that soldiers can also purchase.
The all-female board wanted “all of us,” men and women in the Army, “to look the same,” said Thomas. “I thought that was pretty profound for the all-female board to come up with that decision.”