The Air Force will ramp up its effort to adopt the new Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform across the entire service in 2019.
By April 2021, all airmen will be required to have ditched the old Airman Battle Uniform in favor of the OCPs. In October 2018, the Air Force began allowing airmen the option of wearing OCPs, and AAFES stores at a few bases began selling the new pattern.
More AAFES stores will get the OCP this April, and AAFES is expected to start selling the uniform online in October.
Also beginning in October, airmen coming through basic training, officer training school, and the Reserve Officer Training Corps will be issued OCPs.
The Air Force in May announced it would adopt the Army’s OCP as its official utility uniform. It chose the new uniform because of its improved fit and comfort, because it would help airmen fit in alongside soldiers in the field, and because airmen consistently said they wanted to adopt a version of the Army’s uniform.
The Air Force is also contemplating possible changes to its service jacket and physical training uniform in the coming year.
In an August interview, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright said the Air Force was designing an updated version of its service dress blues uniform. As they are designing the new service jacket, Air Force officials are drawing inspiration from older, heritage jackets, which had four functional outer pockets, Wright said. The current service jacket has two decorative outer pockets.
The top enlisted airman said he believes the modern service jacket has drifted too close to a business suit design, and that he wants more of a traditional, military style.
Wright also said the Air Force was considering making PT uniform changes. Those changes could include making some uniforms available in a moisture-wicking fabric, he said, which would increase comfort for airmen in warmer climates as they start sweating.
The unofficial Facebook page Air Force amn/nco/snco last month also posted slides depicting mockups of the possible new PT uniform.
Wright said in August that the dress blues and PT uniform changes could come out later in 2019. After the PT slides leaked, the Air Force stressed that no decisions on possible changes to that uniform have been made.
Stephen Losey covers leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times. He comes from an Air Force family, and his investigative reports have won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover Air Force operations against the Islamic State.