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Army chief OKs earbuds in the gym; new policy coming soon

First, the good news: The Army's top general has approved a proposal allowing soldiers to wear earbuds when working out in a gym in their PT uniform.

The bad news: It's not quite official yet, so leave those earbuds at home tomorrow morning.

"Until the new policy is published, as an Army directive or as an update to AR 670-1, soldiers are to adhere to the current policy," said Paul Prince, an Army spokesman.

He added, "We are working diligently to implement the change as soon as possible while making sure we have properly vetted the proposed guidance through the Army Publishing Process," he said.

Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey brought the proposal to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley after months of feedback from soldiers, including during town hall meetings and troop visits.

Army Regulation 670-1 prohibits soldiers from wearing wireless or non-wireless devices or earpieces while wearing Army uniforms. But a soldier dressed in civilian clothes is able to work out in the same gym and wear his headphones.

Last summer, when discussing this issue with Army Times, Dailey said it would be "pretty hypocritical" to allow soldiers in civilian clothes to wear headphones in the gym but not those in uniform.

Once the policy change is finalized, there will be some caveats. For example, if soldiers are conducting physical fitness training in a gym as part of a unit event, their squad leader could require them to lose the headphones. The intent also is to authorize in-ear headphones — or earbuds — instead of large, over-the-ear devices.

Another no-no: earbuds while doing PT outside.

Citing safety concerns, that will "never" be allowed, Dailey said.

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