Troops with extensive, visible tattoos will be able to stay in the Army under a new uniform policy about to take effect, but they won’t be able to get new ones and they face restrictions on their career advancement.
The new rules were leaked online today in the form of a 57-page PowerPoint presentation dated March 19. Secretary of the Army John McHugh signed an order adopting them earlier this month, according to Army Times.
The rules, Army Regulation 670-1, cover everything from the ways troops must present their medals on their uniforms to how female soldiers can wear their hair during physical training. For the first time, the new policy allows female soldiers to wear ponytails during exercise.
Changes to Army tattoo policies drew the most attention last year when senior leaders were debating the regulation because body art grew in popularity among soldiers during the recent wars.
The new tattoo rules:
- Forbid tattoos on the head, face, neck, hands, fingers and wrists.
- Allow no more than four hand-size tattoos below the elbow and knee.
- Prohibit sleeve tattoos that cover a person’s entire arm.
- Ban sexist, racist, indecent or extremist tattoos.
- Bar enlisted soldiers from requesting commissions as officers if they have tattoos that violate the new policies.
- Require commanders to document any tattoos that violate the new rules among current soldiers.
- Order commanders to check their soldiers for new tattoos every year.