In recent messages to their respective forces, the services announced that, effective July 6, Marines and sailors must exchange their comfortable camouflage utilities for crisper service uniforms, at least when they're in the Pentagon and in certain locations around Washington, D.C.
A Navy administrative message released this month specifically prohibited the wear of flight suits and the Navy Working Uniform Type III, the woodland-green camouflage that is now the service's standard utility uniform. These cannot be worn inside the Pentagon, in the National Mall area and around Capitol Hill, the White House, the State Department building and national monuments.
"The NWU Type III may be worn as the alternate uniform of the day per commanding officer or officer-in- charge permission on DoD installations, commands and facilities within the NCR other than the restricted areas established above," the message states.
It notes that sailors who are on duty in the National Military Command Center, Navy Operations Center and DiLorenzo Tricare Health Clinic within the Pentagon reservation are permitted to wear camouflage utilities and flight suits.
The standard uniform of the day for sailors in the National Capital Region is now service khaki for officers and chief petty officers, and the Navy Service Uniform for enlisted sailors in ranks E-1 to E-6, Ed Zeigler, a spokesman for Naval District Washington, told Military.com.
A corresponding All-Marine message released June 30 dictates that the uniform of the day for Marines within the Pentagon reservation is the seasonal Service "B" or "C," a uniform with olive-green trousers or skirt and a long-sleeved or short-sleeved khaki shirt, depending on season.
"We aligned the Navy-Marine Corps uniform policies in the National Capital Region and the Pentagon Reservation to demonstrate a unified, professional image of our integrated Naval Force," Zeigler said, adding that the decision was made by Naval District Washington "in coordination with Navy and Marine Corps leadership."
Military uniform policy at the Pentagon has evolved multiple times in recent years as leaders seek to strike the right balance between comfort and professionalism.
Marines, sailors and soldiers were all authorized to wear camouflage in the Pentagon following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to a report from USNI News. The Navy initially kept sailors in service uniforms, but in 2019 altered regulations to allow the NWU Type III to be the uniform of the day most days.
Both the Marine Corps and the Navy require service uniforms to be worn on Fridays.
In 2011, the Army moved to formalize appearances inside the Pentagon, changing rules to require wear of the Army Service Uniform instead of camouflage.
-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.