In a move that I roundly applaud, Secretary Gates has apparently told his military staff to stop wearing cammies/ACUs/utilities/battle dress/whatever else you want to call it to the office.Geoff Morrell got asked about it in his press conference yesterday, and he elaborated on the decision. His answer is copied here in full for your edification and education.
So there's that handled.
Q Real quickly, has there been a decision made to change within the Pentagon -- to change the dress code for the military? And if so, what's the thinking behind that?
MR. MORRELL: Let me try to do this in one minute.
There's not been a decision from on high about this. To give you the quick history of this, the secretary has for a long time been thinking about making a change in his office. When he came back from Christmas vacation, he asked his military staff to switch out of their BDUs, out of their fatigues, and into dress uniforms, their more appropriate work uniforms.
His thinking was simply that this is the headquarters of the United States military in our nation's capital. He hosts leaders from around the world. The people we do business with, from across the river, the professionals that come to see us are all dressed in business attire. And he thought it was time for his office to be dressed accordingly.
This is -- he understands fully why this building changed in 19 -- in 2001 into its fatigues. This building was hit, it was attacked. We were at war. Not only was that the appropriate dress, in the aftermath of that attack, it showed solidarity with the warfighter.
I think we are at a point now where he believes at least that what one dresses in does not necessarily reflect their commitment to the warfighter or, and that there are other ways to demonstrate their solidarity. Frankly it's by doing everything you can, once you walk in this door every day, to make sure they have what they need to succeed.
This was not a mandate for the building as a whole. This was meant for his staff. If others take notice, as they clearly have, and make adjustments, that is their decision. And I think you've seen some offices go about that.
You'll certainly see the people you deal with in Public Affairs, starting Monday [March 1], dressed in their business or dress attire. And I think you'll likely see other officers in the building as well. But it was not by fiat. It was not mandated. It's -- they've probably taken notice of the change upstairs and re-evaluated their own policies.