U.S. Marine recruits train at Parris Island, S.C. The Marines announced that, starting Sept. 1, photographs of individuals will no longer be part of selection or promotion packages, to decrease racial or other bias. Photo courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps
Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Marine Corps, starting next week, will no longer include photographs of personnel in the training or assignments selection process in an effort to reduce gender and racial bias.
The policy, announced in July, goes into effect Sept. 1, according to the Marine Corps.
"Photographs are not authorized information for promotion boards and selection processes pertaining to assignment, training, education, and command," an administrative order issued Wednesday said in part.
The ban includes official photographs from personnel files of individual Marines.
The policy change comes after Secretary of Defense Mark Esper issued a guidance message in July to all service branches, calling for the end to of photographs in selection processes.
The move will help the military better reflect diversity in its ranks and ensure "equal opportunity for all who serve," the guidance said.
The U.S. Army ended its use of photographs following Esper's memo, on Aug. 1.
The Navy and Air Force have each started reviews of perceived bias. The branches initiated reviews of diversity and bias within their ranks after protests this summer over the deaths of several Black civilians at the hands of law enforcement officials.