USAF Updates AFI 36-2903

It’s taken them five years, but Air Force officials finally unveiled a new version of AFI 36-2903, Dress and Personal Appearance yesterday. Last updated in 2006, the Air Force introduced the Airman Battle Uniform during the interim which will completely replace the Battle Dress Uniform and Desert Camouflage Uniform with their mandatory wearout date on 1 November of this year. While the Air Force has introduced modest changes to the actual uniforms it wears, this latest version of the instruction is about being more user friendly. You will also notice some definitive guidance on flying uniforms (ch 8 ) although these are invariably also covered by MAJCOM and Wing supplements.

In an Air Force press release, Ruth Ewalt, Air Force Uniform Programs and Policies chief at the Air Staff commented, “The changes are a result of Airmen in the field requesting clarification, leadership approving more specific policy, and the need to integrate information from the 98th virtual uniform board and other wear policy approved since 2006.” She went on, “We added the ABU, green fleece, and physical fitness uniform information not in the previous AFI and corrected instances of conflicting information.”

Additionally, the Air Force added more photos, “Individuals learn and retain information differently,” Ewalt said. “For some, a photo is a better tool than volumes of text or audio. We wanted to make this AFI as ‘user-friendly’ as possible. It covers every Airman — from the first-day recruit in Basic Military Training to the 30-plus-year career Airman.”

Those familiar with previous versions of the AFI will notice some other changes.

The first three chapters cover the basic philosophy, appropriate circumstances to wear uniform items, how and where to purchase them, roles and responsibilities, and grooming and appearance standards.

Chapters four through seven cover uniforms worn and maintained by all Air Force members: dress, utility, and physical training uniforms. Chapters four and five include the dress and utility uniforms. Chapter six explains outer garments, headgear, rank insignia and accessories, and chapter seven covers the physical training uniform.

The remaining chapters “customize” the uniforms of unique populations and discuss badges, awards and decorations unique to individual Airmen.

The final chapter contains instructions for recommending changes to dress and personal appearance policy or uniform designs.

Tattooed Airmen should make special note. They’ve added a tattoo measurement tool to standardize the process for Airmen and commanders to determine if a tattoo meets standards.

“There is also a form to document tattoos that are borderline excessive or require a commander-approved waiver,” Ewalt said. “The policy regarding what constitutes an excessive tattoo has not changed. The standard is still not more than 25 percent of the exposed body part.”

Be sure to give it a read. Enjoy!

AFI 36-2903, 18 JULY 2011

9 Responses to “USAF Updates AFI 36-2903”

  1. Ryan S. says:

    Still no provisions for sister service badges. Those pilots and their pen…err badge envy

  2. Administrator says:

    Yeah, I noticed that. Plus, you’re now down to two on the ABU.

  3. Gene says:

    They really need to get away from v-neck tshirts with the blue shirts. And make some serious changes to the ABU.

  4. FED UP says:

    If 36-2903 was rescinded-do ARTs still have to wear the uniform when NOT in military status?????? Apparently the federal judge has not made a decision yet–I hear at Travis they don’t have to wear it–we are now being told we can’t even change when we get to work -we have to report in uniform! Unreal! I’m sorry but I don’t think they can dictate what I wear in my car on the way to work and if I don’t start my work day until I’m changed that’s my business–They’ve taken all the fun out of being an ART—-

  5. Old Paratrooper says:

    That’s crazy! In Europe troops HAVE to travel back and forth to work in civvies.

  6. Johnny Quest says:

    What is an ART?

  7. Ben P. says:

    98 uniform boards in a 64 year old service. Don’t we have other things to do?

    • Administrator says:

      A uniform board didn’t create this update. There hasn’t been a uniform board in several years.

  8. Ryan S. says:

    I remember when were still all in BDU’s the rigger’s badge was NOT authorized. Yet all off the stitch bitches in APS wore them. Fair enough. Let an SP try and wear something he’s earned and all hell would break loose. Ultimately, who cares? It’s just the worrying about all of these little things that make me count down the days until I become “Mr. ___”