The U.S. Army announced this week via a Stars and Stripes report that there will be new tattoo restrictions for potential recruits. The new policy will prohibit tattoos below elbows and knees or above the neckline. This part of a new grooming regulations with Army Regulation 670-1. Soldiers who already have such tattoos will be grandfathered in and will be exempt from this new regulation. Recruits will be expected to self-identify their tattoos, and any removal will be paid by the individual. Bans on tattoos deemed racist, sexist, and extremist are still prohibited. The regulation is expected to go into effect in 60 days.
Sgt. Maj. Raymond Chandler stated to his troops in a meeting that the new policy is intended to maintain a uniformed look and that soldiers must sacrifice to the sake of the force. He does not want the soldiers to stand out by their appearance, but by their performance and achievement in their service.
Some people have criticized the new policy. The military has a long history of tattoos. While there is now plans to allow more visible tattoos in the future, for now future recruits will need to think wisely before they get a new tattoo.