April 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy announced clarified uniform regulations to improve interpretation and application of standards and address a perception of racial bias.
Gone are eight loosely defined terms such as "faddish," "good taste," "eccentric," "complement the skin tone," "outrageous" and "complementary appearance," which appeared frequently in the regulations.
Terms including "uniform distraction" and "professional appearance" were added and explained, the Navy said in a statement Thursday.
The changes came after requested feedback, comments and suggestions from Navy personnel in focus groups in 2020 and 2021.
It was determined that, while there is no racial bias in policy, perceptions of bias exist because certain wording in the regulations led to inconsistent application of rules.
The focus groups were an element of Task Force One Navy, formed in July 2020 to address U.S. Navy diversity. In February 2021, the task force submitted its 142-page report, listing nearly 60 recommendations.
"The review of NAVPERS 15665I [regulations pertaining to Navy uniforms] and discussions with sailors concluded the Navy's grooming policies are not racially biased, but various terms, phrases and definitions were found to be subjective and lead to misinterpretation," Vice Adm. John B. Nowell wrote in the announcement on Thursday.
The changes, effective on Thursday, are the first in a planned series of uniform policy changes, Nowell added.