Recent uniform changes have encountered support and opposition. Many complaints concern the appearance of the new Navy Working Uniform (NWU) for petty officers first class and below. There are valid concerns on both sides of the issue, but one little talked about is how uniform changes are blurring the lines between ranks and contributing to the decay of our heritage.
The Navy is unique in the separation between junior enlisted Sailors and Chiefs/officers, with khaki serving as a visible dividing line. Only in the Navy does one's uniform change so drastically with advancement to senior enlisted rank or on commissioning. This is significant because of the considerable changes in responsibilities. Chiefs and officers are specifically charged with the overall success of the organization, not just their division or department, and they must work together to achieve it. That uniform separation is now blurred with every rank authorized a khaki shirt.