Tomorrow Army Leadership will announce the wear instructions and bridging strategy for the blue Army Service Uniform (ASU). These instructions support the decision to consolidate our dress uniforms as part of a streamlining process that began in 2004 with our combat uniforms. The Army began with the reduction of the number of combat uniforms from three to one with the adoption of the Army Combat Uniform (ACU). The ACU replaced both the summer and winter weight Battle Dress Uniforms and the Desert Camouflage Uniform. This uniform consolidation and streamlining has been successful in terms of Soldier acceptance and reducing the type of uniforms Soldiers must maintain in their clothing inventory. The blue ASU eliminates the need for multiple Class A type uniforms. Streamlining our Class A style uniforms into one ASU reduces the number of uniforms a Soldier must maintain throughout their career. The Army will phase out the green uniform and replace it with the blue ASU. The National blue color of our ASU reflects utility, simplicity, cost-savings and a timeless tradition with roots tracing to the Continental Army of 1700s. Soldiers asked for an Army uniform that represents the traditions of our service, looks good in appearance and fit, and generates the pride Soldiers want when representing the premier service of the United States.

Since the June 2006 decision to transition from the green to the blue ASU, we have actively sought recommendations from Soldiers and their leaders who expressed their recommendations for altering the wear policy for the blue ASU. The message tomorrow will incorporate these recommendations into the wear policy of the current blue ASU and outline the bridging strategy for our transition. Tomorrow’s message represents the recommendations and inputs from Soldiers and leaders in more than 150 Soldier forums around the world conducted over the last two years. In the Army’s 2007 formal survey, Soldiers clearly indicated they wanted tradition, a uniform reflecting pride of service, recognition of their credentials, and low maintenance and upkeep costs. Survey results told us 98% of Soldiers wanted recognition of their combat service, 70% wanted recognition of their unit affiliation and 75% wanted recognition of their regimental affiliation. Soldiers indicated their preference to allow those authorized to wear “jump boots” with their Class A and B uniform to continue that important tradition. We have incorporated these recommendations into the wear policy.

Tomorrow’s message will outline the wear of the current, commercially available blue ASU for wear as our service Class A uniform. As the new blue ASU uniform items come available in Military Clothing Sales Stores, Soldiers will replace their current green ASU clothing items. The new blue ASU will include the coat and low waist trousers for male Soldiers; and the coat, slacks and skirt for female Soldiers. The fabric of the new blue ASU consists of 55% wool and 45% polyester blend which is heavier and wrinkle resistant compared to the present commercially available blue uniform. The new ASU coat when available will utilize an athletic cut to improve fit and appearance, and will include a new improved heavier and wrinkle resistant short and long-sleeved white shirt with permanent military creases and shoulder loops. The mandatory possession date for the new ASU is the 4th quarter of FY14. Industry should have the new ASU available for purchase in our Military Clothing Sales Stores in the 4th quarter of FY09 and added to Initial Entry Training Soldier’s clothing bags in the 4th Quarter of FY10. During this transition time, I encourage leaders to begin wearing their current blue ASU as their service Class A in accordance with the wear policy established in tomorrow’s message at every appropriate opportunity and occasion.

The implementation of this wear policy represents another step in our transformation to a campaign quality expeditionary force that is dominant across the spectrum of 21st Century conflict.

Thanks for all that you do for the Nation and the Army. Army Strong!