Air Education and Training Command leaders are diligently working to remove barriers, promote mutual respect, and encourage tough conversations in safe spaces.

The First Command is leading efforts to strengthen diversity through deliberate actions to raise awareness about opportunities; developing partnerships with underrepresented groups; removing barriers to serve and providing mentorship to our current force.

 Air Force Instruction (AFI) 36-7001, Diversity & Inclusion, broadly defines diversity as “a composite of individual characteristics, experiences, and abilities consistent with the Air Force Core Values and the Air Force Mission. Air Force diversity includes, but is not limited to: personal life experiences, geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds, cultural knowledge, educational background, work experience, language abilities, physical abilities, philosophical and spiritual perspectives, age, race, ethnicity, and gender.” The Air Force increases its warfighting capabilities and lethality by attracting talent from a diverse body of applicants and leveraging their unique characteristics, experiences, and abilities.

 

Learn more about the U.S. Air Force Rated Diversity Improvement Strategy here. 

 

Video by Andriy Agashchuk, Marcelo Joniaux, Tech. Sgt. Tenelle Marshall
Real Talk: Race and Diversity in the Air Force - June 17, 2021
502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
June 17, 2021 | 48:52
Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Education and Training Command, hosts the seventh episode of Real Talk: Race and Diversity in the Air Force, June 17th, 2021. Joining Lt. Gen. Webb for this episode will be: Brig. Gen. Brenda Cartier, Incoming AETC Director of Operations.
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Air Force readdresses women’s hair standard after feedback

  • Published
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) -- Building on women’s hair updates announced in February 2021, the Air Force will further revise Air Force Instruction 36-2903 to address differences in hair density and texture. 

Previously, hair worn in a bun, braid, ponytail or equivalent could not extend beyond the width of the head. Beginning June 25, when hair is secured behind the head, the hair may extend six inches to the left and to the right and six inches protruding from the point where the hair is gathered. The 12-inch total width must allow for proper wear of headgear.

“Change doesn’t happen overnight, and sometimes it takes another iteration to arrive at the best solution,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. “This updated guidance represents meaningful progress. The feedback we received from our Airmen highlighted the need to reevaluate the policy and ultimately, make it more inclusive.”

The change addresses feedback received since the previous guidance was originally published. Specifically, women voiced concerns over difficulty related to securing hair in a manner that does not extend beyond the head.

“In developing policy we try to address all angles and perspectives, but sometimes we have a blind spot,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. “The feedback we received highlighted the need to reevaluate the policy to make it even more inclusive.”

Initial changes to women’s hair standards were the result of various recommendations issued last fall by the Air Force uniform board. The group of 19 Airmen included a diverse group of men and women with officers and enlisted members from various ethnic and occupational backgrounds across major commands and headquarters directories.

“Whether we’re talking about hair, uniforms or forums for sharing ideas, an approach that embraces diversity and fosters an inclusive environment is critical to ensuring our talented, dedicated Airmen stay with us on this journey,” said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass.

Members must adhere to current occupational safety, fire and health guidance, and mishap prevention procedures emphasizing when and how to mitigate the potential for injury from hair of varying lengths and styles around machinery, equipment, power transmission apparatus or moving parts. Airmen are encouraged to reach out to their safety office for assistance in analyzing any potential hazards, as applicable.

At this time, Guardians will adhere to the grooming standards of the U.S. Air Force until the U.S. Space Force develops its own policy.

Additional ideas generated from the uniform board are still under consideration for policy change and updates will be released as they become available.