Just as 2017 kicked off, then-Army Secretary Eric Fanning signed a directive to authorize beards for Sikh soldiers, a change years in the making.
The move begged the question: If the Army says it’s safe for Sikhs to wear beards, what about everyone else?
Following the January directive, the Army continued to study the effectiveness of the standard gas mask. And Task and Purpose reported in late November that the Army had decided not to go ahead with beards.
But according to Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey, new Army Secretary Mark Esper has not made a final decision one way or another.