Armed Forces News

The Army issued several new hair guidelines, aimed at accommodating religious customs. All female soldiers will be allowed to wear dreadlocks, and certain male soldiers will be allowed to have beards and wear turbans. Dreadlocks must have a “neat, professional, and well-groomed appearance” and cannot be more than one-half inch thick. Previously, Sikh soldiers could wear turbans but had to remove them while indoors. The new regulation allows indoor wear of turbans. Sikh soldiers only have to ask permission once during their careers to wear their turbans indoors. While the beard requirement has been relaxed as well, concerns still remain about possible degradation of protection while wearing gas masks. The Army is working to resolve the issue. In the meantime, soldiers with permission to wear beards will not be allowed to enter chemical-warfare career fields.