USAF Updates Instruction Pertaining to Religious Expression

Air Force officials approved an update to AF Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards, in an effort to give more guidance on religious expression while in uniform, airmen’s religious rights, and a commander’s authority and responsibility to protect airmen’s rights. Several changes to policy were made to give better guidance for how commanders should handle “religious accommodation requests” or when airmen feel their religious expression rights are being questioned or criticized, states a Nov. 12 release. The update comes after USAF held a “Focus Day,” where Air Force chaplains discussed USAF regulations and policies, the complaint process, and ways to communicate with airmen and educate them about their rights and responsibilities. Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said USAF owes commanders “clear guidance on what their responsibilities are to protect and care for their airmen,” and those responsibilities include caring for their social and spiritual health.