WASHINGTON – After bringing up the issue earlier this month, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) announced on Friday that the next class of female cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point will have better-fitting Army Combat Uniforms (ACUs), reversing a policy of unisex uniforms for cadets.
In the past, cadets could purchase female-specific ACUs, but unisex uniforms were issued for free.
In her letter to the Army Secretary earlier, Senator Hassan called on West Point to change its uniform policy, citing concerns that the policy may unintentionally send a message to female cadets that they are second-class citizens.
“I am grateful that the Army has agreed to change its uniform policy at West Point to be more inclusive for female cadets,” said Hassan. “Uniforms are an important part of military academies’ culture, and ensuring that female cadets have uniforms that fit is essential to making them feel included in a space that has been historically male-dominated. A properly fitted uniform is also important to a cadet’s ability to perform competitively and effectively during their training. I appreciate the crucial role that military academies play in molding the military’s future leaders, and this is an important step as we continue working to fully support the young women and men who step up to serve.”
In response to the Senator’s outreach, U.S. Army Lieutenant General Darryl Williams, who serves as the Superintendent of West Point, wrote: “Although West Point sizes every uniform issued to the individual cadet, offers female options for many of its uniforms, and custom tailors the dress uniforms for each individual cadet, I recognize the ACU issue policy may create a perception of exclusion among our female cadets. That is never our intent.”