WASHINGTON — The U.S. Naval Academy is allowing female midshipmen to wear ponytails and other longer hairstyles.

The policy was announced during a Board of Visitors meeting Monday.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson first announced the Navy's changes in July, saying they make the Navy more inclusive. The academy conducted its own review before accepting the changes.

The regulation allows braids and ponytails in service, working and physical training uniforms. The width or diameter of hair buns can't extend beyond the width of the back of the head. The academy is stipulating that ponytails cannot be seen from the front.

Vice Adm. Ted Carter, the superintendent, says the incoming class is one of the academy’s most diverse. He says the class of 2022 is about 28 percent female.

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