No it’s not.
It’s fashion. Beards have been around for arguably thousands of years. It’s only the recent spate of millennial wannabes who are kicking off about it.
Not think lads wanted beards in the 80s/90s? Probably but you just get on with it.
And no it’s not. You used Salisbury as an example. That’s rapid response. Limited time and resources.
We have already flogged it to death. It’s dependent on threat, situation and environment.
If you want a hipster beard, join the navy. Otherwise we will end up looking like some of the police with naff styles of crap facial hair that looks ridiculous, unprofessional and just turd.
You want to be in the boys club? Play by the rules. Don’t kick off because of whatever latest fashion takes your fancy.