Leadership: Looks Count

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September 25, 2007: The U.S. Navy has been going through a downsizing recently, and will continue it for a few more years. To take advantage of this process, all sorts of standards have been raised, forcing out those who don't measure up. Now, the navy is going after, well, appearance. The navy has already cracked down on sailors and officers who are overweight. But now, all officers must submit a full length photo of themselves, for their personnel record (which is examined to determine who gets promoted). The picture is to be a three quarter view, with left shoulder forward, against a plan, flat, background. The photo must be 4x6 inches. The photo must be marked with the officers name and date of the picture. The suggested uniform is service khaki (basically tan colored pants and shirt) without the hat.

Two years ago, a long standing requirement for a full length photo was dropped. The official reason was that because the navy had cracked down on overweight officers, the photo was not neccessary anymore. The unofficial reason was that the photo often penalized officers who, well, "didn't look right." This could be everything from being "too ethnic" to "ugly." No one would ever admit this officially, but it was often heard when officers spoke among themselves. But now, officers who appear to look the part, are more likely to get promoted. That's official. Or, in milspeak, "reemphasize the integral elements of military bearing and physical fitness to service professionalism." Note that many naval heroes of the past were noted for their unappealing appearance.

 


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