WASHINGTON -- Recruiters, drill sergeants, and initial entry trainees 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. Wherever I go, people tell me that they love the uniform,” said Army Vice Chief Of Staff Gen. Joseph M. Martin.
“As we transition to the next phase of the rollout, I’m excited for the Soldiers who are about to receive the uniform,” he added. “I think that when they see themselves in the mirror they’ll feel connected to the Soldiers of the past and realize that they’re writing the next chapter of what people feel about our Army.”
Personnel in basic combat training and one-station unit training should receive the AGSU beginning in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021, said Lt. Col. Naim Lee, product manager of Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier.
Fort Sill, Oklahoma, will be the first training location to issue the uniform, shortly followed by Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Fort Benning, Georgia; and Fort Jackson, South Carolina, 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 short delay in the rollout process.
Soldiers attending the Army's Recruiting and Retention College at Fort Knox, Kentucky, 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 Army," Lee said.
After a select group of recruiters were able to wear the uniform as part of a pilot, they indicated that the new uniform may help attract quality applicants. The uniform may also help 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 AGSU is currently available for purchase at the Fort Knox AAFES location.
The majority of AAFES locations within the U.S. are scheduled to have the new uniform by December. Stores in Alaska, Europe, Japan, and South Korea, along with National Guard and Reserve military clothing locations, should have a supply of uniforms by February 2021.
The mandatory wear date for all Soldiers is Oct. 1, 2027.
Active-duty enlisted Soldiers, including Active Guard and Reserve Soldiers, 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 fiscal year 2021.
Everyday service uniform
The Army is currently the only service without an everyday business uniform, Lee said.
The current Army Service Uniform, commonly known as dress blues, was previously considered an optional purchase uniform prior to 2008, PEO Soldier officials said. Over time, leaders realized that the dress blues were too formal for everyday business use.
With the launch of the AGSU, Soldiers will now have an everyday service uniform, which will set an appropriate standard for professionalism within an office setting, Lee added.
Eventually, the Army will stop issuing the dress blues to all Soldiers. The uniform will continue to be optional and serve as a dress uniform for all Soldiers requiring a formal attire.
Limited user test, evaluation
As the Army delivers its new uniform, PEO Soldier will continue to conduct limited user testing and evaluations through May 2021, Lee said.
Early in the development process, the Army held an all-female uniform board that determined the design, components, features and fit of the female uniform. While both the male and female uniforms are similar, PEO Soldier officials said the female version 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 Army Service Uniform, 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. "And given the current environment [with COVID-19], we will have to incorporate” other forms of communication.
"Soldiers are enjoying this new uniform and they are eager to go out and get it,” he added. “We can't get it to them fast enough.”