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Soldiers can vote online for uniform options

Oct. 9, 2012 - 01:47PM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 9, 2012 - 01:47PM  |  
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Soldiers, sound off: Army leaders have developed an Improved Physical Fitness Uniform boasting more than 30 improvements. Now you get to choose the colors, and you're asked to cast your vote.

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Soldiers, sound off: Army leaders have developed an Improved Physical Fitness Uniform boasting more than 30 improvements. Now you get to choose the colors, and you're asked to cast your vote.

Voting is open Oct. 9-30. Online voting sites will open at 2 p.m. Oct. 9. Soldiers can vote with or without a Common Access Card:

To vote without a CAC, go to">

To vote with a CAC,">

Soldiers have six sets of uniforms from which to choose, each with different colors and graphic designs.

For example, the options include the traditional black-and-gold ensemble, but also a black-and-gray design.

The chevron on the jacket chest can be yellow, gray or black and is offered in different sizes.

The shorts offer colored piping on the sides.

Shirt selections include "Army" in large letters covering the chest or the Army logo placed over the left breast.

When you'll get it

Once voting is over, the Army looks to phase in all of the changes over the next year. All changes will be in the clothing bag within two years.

The improved uniforms will have a number of soldier-driven changes, to include:

Female uniform sizes.

Reduced fabric weight.

Moisture-wicking, quick-dry fabric.

Anti-microbial T-shirts.

The removal of reflective elements (soldiers will still wear a physical training belt).

A crew neck collar replaces the high cuff on the collars, and sleeves of the long-sleeve shirt are removed.

Tagless labels.

Removal of the liner from pants.

Improved fabric and fit of shorts.

Regarding the shorts, many soldiers said modesty was an issue for men and women who wear the current version. Officials responded by adding a spandex liner with an anti-microbial crotch area.

This is part two of a soldier-driven quest for a new PT uniform. In February, the Army asked soldiers to weigh in on the PT uniform. More than 76,000 soldiers took the initial survey, suggesting changes to fit, weight and other aspects of the uniform. Their suggestions led to the six finalist designs unveiled by the Army.

The change was driven by Gen. Robert Cone, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, who asked his staff why the Army PT uniform was so clunky and didn't employ the high-tech attributes of exercise clothing available at any running store. But Cone found he didn't have the authority to make the change. The Army took over from there.

The new uniform is lighter-weight, includes tagless labels and is made of anti-microbial, quick-dry fabrics, all the result of soldiers' ideas.

"Nobody can tell you better what needs to happen with it than the user of that piece of equipment," Command Sgt. Maj. Emmett Maunakea, Program Executive Office Soldier, said in an Army release. "We need the feedback from soldiers and leaders in the field to tell us what is wrong with it, what is right with it, and how can we make it better and work better for them."

Maunakea said soldiers know what's available to civilians in the way of fitness gear, and brought that knowledge with them when they commented on the Army's uniform.

"Our soldiers are smart," he said. "They are out there spending a lot of money in the economy as they buy their civilian workout clothing. And they are buying the newest, latest and greatest type of stuff."

To save on cost, the reflective elements of the IPFU have been removed, Maunakea said. "Everybody is going to be wearing a PT belt anyway, so it doesn't make sense to have it on the uniform if you are already wearing a reflective belt."

After soldiers vote on which uniform they like best, a "series of steps" must take place before the uniforms reach soldiers. Included in those steps are wear testing by a sample group of soldiers, additional improvements as a result of that testing, and a final approval by the chief of staff of the Army.

Where you can see it

A team from PEO Soldier will take the new uniform on a tour of U.S. bases this fall.

Dates and locations include:

Fort Bragg, N.C., Oct. 8-10

Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 11-15

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Oct. 16-18

Fort Shafter and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Oct. 19-26.

Locations for those demonstrations were chosen for density of soldiers, according to an Army release.

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