FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — Having separate military services brings perspectives to the table that are the epitome of “jointness,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here Monday.
In answer to a question at an all-hands call here, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey told U.S. Army Pacific Soldiers that he hopes the military services can retain their own unique field uniforms.
The chairman said he believes the uniforms affect and express the unique cultures of the services. “I don’t know whether you like this uniform or not, but it is your uniform,” he told the Soldiers – all wearing Army camouflage uniforms. “And the Marine Corps has their uniform, and the Navy theirs and the Air Force theirs.”
The uniforms reflect the differences in the services, the chairman said. “I have to tell you,” he added, “when I sit with the service chiefs, it is extraordinarily important and beneficial that we have four different views and that those views can be molded into military advice that we can provide to our elected leaders.”
The difference in perspectives and experiences of the services are valuable, and a single viewpoint would be a disservice to the nation, the chairman told the Soldiers. “It is a very healthy thing to have four separate services, each proud of who they are,” he said. “Some of that pride is reflected in the uniform you wear.”
Moves are afoot for the military to adopt a single field uniform. Legislators point to cost as an issue.
“I wouldn’t advocate it, but at some point we may be required to because of cost,” Dempsey said. “I hope not.”