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RAAF lifts beard ban – but fuzz must be groomed

written by Daniel Croft | November 3, 2022

Pilots from Number 76 Squadron display their beards in support of ‘Decembeard’ in 2020 (Defence)

The RAAF has lifted its long-standing ban on beards — but only for facial hair that is groomed.

From November 1, members of the Air Force will now be permitted to have facial hair, provided that it maintains a clean, neat, and professional appearance and meets health and safety requirements.

“As an air force, we must ensure we continue to evolve and modernise our practices,” said new Chief of Air Force, Rob Chipman.

“This includes creating greater choices for our people in custom with societal norms, where we are able and when appropriate.

“This change will not affect the important capability we deliver or the high standards we set for ourselves as an organisation.”


Until now, RAAF personnel have been restricted from having facial hair except on specific occasions such as Movember.

The policy around facial hair varies between the Army, Navy, and RAAF, with navy personnel allowed to grow facial hair with permission.

Army announced in 2019 that it would also be looking to change its facial hair policy.

The change is part of the RAAF’s efforts to change its culture for the modern day after its first 100 years, previously having changed the gendered term ‘airmen’ to ‘aviators’.

“Of all the work that has been done in developing our Air Force culture, the most challenging dilemma has been fully explaining who we are,” said then-Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mel Hupfield at the RAAF’s centenary dinner.

“We understand well enough what we are and what we do — but have never quite managed to successfully articulate who we are. We are all aviators.

“As an Air Force, we are born of the air and space. It is our home, and the place from which we serve our nation. Our trade is aviation.

“In everything that we do, we are aviators first and foremost. All of us, by virtue of what we do and what we believe. It is what binds us together.”

The change marks part of the RAAF’s Our Air Force, Our Culture program, which aligns itself with the update to the Air Force Strategy of 2020.

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