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Air Force Uniform Office planning for the future

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) -- Officials in the Air Force Uniform Office here are developing a seven-year strategic plan, which will be used to provide Air Force Uniform Board members vital uniform technology information to assist in making decisions on allocating limited resources to pursue the board's priorities.

Priorities for the AFUB include, but are not limited to, the airman battle uniform, dress uniform, physical training uniform and specialty uniforms to include fire-resistant flight suits and extreme cold-weather gear.

The current method of identifying and prioritizing Air Force uniform development and improvements is addressed through the AFUB. By logging into the Air Force's IDEA Program Web site, Airmen can select a link that allows them to submit their ideas. Those suggestions are reviewed by members of the Air Force Uniform Board for inclusion in the annual AFUB Priority List.

"We want to meet the needs of our Airmen in all areas of operations," said 2nd Lt. Justin Mason, AFUO strategic planning project lead. "This plan will lay the foundation for future (uniform) designs and operational improvements.

The AFUO is requiring the new strategic plan to provide a full study of Air Force uniforms, which includes information on latest innovations from the textile industry, efforts by sister services, and feedback from Airmen service-wide over current concerns/issues.

Meetings also will be held with members of the textile industry to learn their plans over the next seven years and incorporate those into the AFUO plan.

According to Master Sgt. James Lynn, an AFUO subject-matter expert, there will be quarterly reports that update the AFUO on current and future technology, while making recommendations for uniform design.

"We will use this strategic plan to examine our (AFUO) current and future efforts," Sergeant Lynn said. "This is a great opportunity to become more in-tune with meeting the needs of our Airmen on both sides of the wire."

Currently, several Air Force bases have been identified for AFUO visits so staff members can speak directly with Airmen and hear their comments and suggestions for uniform improvements. Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and Maxwell AFB, Ala., have been visited with valuable feedback received. During each visit, several meetings with Airmen of all ranks were held in an open-forum format, with some Airmen even bringing uniform items to better illustrate their suggestions.

"Feedback we receive will go into our plan," said Maj. Eric Habersberger, AFUO deputy chief. "The information compiled will influence future designs, to more adequately meet the needs of our Airmen."

The AFUO staff is responsible for designing, testing and sustaining Air Force uniforms. Uniform items are not fielded until approved by the AFUB, a voting board, comprising Airmen from all ranks.

To submit suggestions for consideration by the Air Force Uniform Board, please the AF IDEA Program web page on the AF Portal.