Female integration with males in the military will be affecting uniform standards in the near future, at least for the Marine Corps. According to Marine Corps administrative messages, the goal is for women to adopt a modified dress blues coat that closely resembles the ones currently worn by males. This is a relatively simple change to make, and seems to be a positive step for male and female integration.
Women won’t see the new dress blue coat for two to three years, officials said. Final tweaks must be made, then contracting and production timelines must be factored in.
The change comes after more than two years of tests and experiments that coincided with the Pentagon’s push for gender-neutral physical standards and job opportunities. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus last summer said his goal is a collection of uniforms that “don’t divide us as male or female, but rather unite us as sailors or Marines.”
There were learning curves. For example, the Marine Corps did not provide guidance on ribbon placement for its new female dress blues, so wear testers used the spirit of existing rules to work out the issue as best they could.