WASHINGTON – Recruiters, drill sergeants and initial entry training Soldiers will be among the first to receive the new Army Green Service Uniform as program officials look to distribute it to all installations by the middle of next fiscal year.
The uniform harkens back to the "greatest generation" of Soldiers who fought during World War II. “For the past year, I’ve been wearing the Army Greens,” said Army Vice Chief Of Staff Gen. Joseph M. Martin. “Wherever I go, people tell me they love the uniform.
“As we transition to the next phase of the rollout,” he added, “I’m excited for the Soldiers who are about to receive the uniform. I think that when they see themselves in the mirror they’ll feel connected to the Soldiers of the past and realize they’re writing the next chapter of what people feel about our Army.”
Personnel in basic and one-station unit training should receive the AGSU beginning in the first quarter of FY21, said Lt. Col. Naim Lee, product manager of Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier.
Fort Sill, Okla., will be the first training location to issue the uniform, shortly followed by Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Benning, Ga.; and Fort Jackson, S.C., he added.
The Army had originally planned to begin issuing the uniforms at IET locations before the end of this fiscal year; however, Lee said, setbacks during production related to COVID-19 forced a delay in the rollout process.
Soldiers attending the Army’s Recruiting and Retention College at Fort Knox, Ky., started to receive their AGSUs earlier this month, he said. The Army is continuing to work through its distribution and production channels to ensure all recruiters are issued the uniform starting in November through April 2021.
"The Army prioritized recruiters and drill sergeants because they serve as the face of the force,” Lee said.
After a select group of recruiters were able to wear the uniform as part of a pilot, they indicated how it may help attract quality applicants. It also could inspire the next generation of leaders by connecting the “all-volunteer force” to its historical lineage, Lee said
Moving forward, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service will supply the new uniform through a wave-based rollout approach, Lee said. The majority of the military stores in the U.S. are scheduled to have the merchandise by December. Stores in Alaska, Europe, Japan and South Korea – along with National Guard and Reserve military clothing locations – should have it in-stock by February.
The mandatory wear date for all Soldiers is Oct. 1, 2027.
Active-duty enlisted Soldiers, including activated Guardsmen and Reservists, will continue to receive their annual clothing-replacement allowance to offset the new uniform’s cost, Lee said. Other Guard and Reserve Soldiers will begin receiving uniforms no later than the fourth quarter of FY21.
The Army is currently the only service without an everyday business uniform. The version commonly known as dress blues was considered an optional purchase item prior to 2008. Over time, leaders realized the Army Service Uniform was too formal for everyday business use. With the launch of the AGSU, Soldiers will now have an office-work apparel option that will set an appropriate standard for professionalism, Lee said.
Eventually, the Army will stop issuing dress blues to Soldiers. The uniform will continue to be optional and serve as a dress wear for events requiring formal attire.
As the Army delivers its new uniform, PEO Soldier will continue to conduct limited user testing and evaluations through May 2021, Lee further noted. Early in the development process, the Army held an all-female uniform board that determined the design, components, features and fit of their version of the AGSU. PEO Soldier officials said it allows for an elective skirt and shoe wear option. In January, leaders held an additional uniform board to solidify minor changes to the uniform that were identified during ongoing user evaluations.
“Soldiers shared how the uniform is a better fit to their body,” when compared to the ASU, Lee said. “In terms of comfort, we made changes through the limited user evaluation feedback process” to improve the Army Greens.
Feedback will continue to be solicited from a larger Army population, specifically from Soldiers who wear the uniform often. Through this process, program leads will shape future iterations of the ensemble to accommodate different body types or make improvements to the product’s longevity.
“We have teams that will receive feedback through Soldier touchpoints,” Lee said. “Given the current environment (with COVID-19), we will have to incorporate other forms of communication. Beyond that, though, Soldiers seem to be enjoying this new uniform and are eager to go out and get it. We can't get it to them fast enough.”