The Army's chief of staff joked Tuesday that the service would consider issuing scissors to soldiers, but there are no current plans to follow the other military branches in relaxing grooming standards -- especially haircut regs -- during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Gen. James McConville joined Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston for a Facebook Live event Tuesday to answer questions from the force.
Some services have relaxed grooming standards since many barber shops have closed and social distancing policies have made it difficult for troops to have their hair cut professionally.
Grinston said that, as long as soldiers follow the grooming standards, which are laid out in AR 670-1 "Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms," they will be fine.
Some male soldiers like to keep their hair "extra close and high and tight," but there is no need for that right now, he said.
"The standard is neatly groomed for males, [so] when the hair is combed, it doesn't fall into the eyebrows; it's not on the ears," Grinston said.
The regulation also states that the "length and bulk of the hair may not be excessive or present a ragged, unkempt, or extreme appearance."
Following the Army hair standard during the COVID-19 outbreak may be a little trickier for female soldiers, since the regulation covers three different hair lengths: short, medium and long, with different guidelines for each length.
"Female hairstyles may not be eccentric or faddish and will present a conservative, professional appearance," it states.
"There may be some flexibility" for women, Grinston said, but there is "no need to change what those standards are."
McConville said that soldiers just need to meet the standard.
"If there is a problem with meeting the standard -- the idea that your hair is over your ears or your hair is over your eye -- we can have that discussion and probably issue a pair of scissors to the people that have that issue," he said with a smile.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.