Following the complaints of Black military women after new grooming regulations were announced, Pentagon spokesman Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby has assured that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will make adjustments to the policy, Fox News reports.
“I want to assure you that, while none of the Army’s revised grooming and appearance policies were designed or intended to discriminate or disparage against any service members, I take your concerns very seriously,” Hagel wrote in a response letter obtained by the Military Times.
In April, the Army issued new appearance standards that bans majority twists, dreadlocks and large cornrows worn predominantly by African-American women. Sixteen female members of the Congressional Black Caucus wrote to Hagel citing the changes as “discriminatory rules targeting soldiers who are women of color.”
The also added that the new regulation referred to the hairstyles with offensive language like “unkempt” and “matted.”
“Secretary Hagel has committed to careful review of each service’s language and grooming policies to ensure both are clear of offensive language and are respectful of the diversity within our armed forces,” Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio said. “Members of the CBC appreciate Secretary Hagel for his prompt response to our letter and for seriously considering our concerns.”
The Deputy Secretary of Defense is charged to review the new policies over the next three months.