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Army's newly revised tattoo policy is more stringent

ZERAK, AFGHANISTAN - JANUARY 22:  A soldier with a 9/11 tattoo stands with other soldiers with US Army Able Company, 3-509 Infantry Battalion inside protective shelter during an afternoon rocket and mortar attack on Combat Outpost (COP) Zerak on January 22, 2010 in Zerak, Afghanistan. No injuries were reported in the heavy rocket and mortar barrage which resulted in nine mortars landing inside of the small base. COP Zerak, located in Paktika Province, works at disrupting and suppressing Taliban routes into Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan. The province, which is roughly the size of Vermont, shares a restive and porous 600 kilometer border with Pakistan.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Would the army's new policy on tattoos make it even harder for the Army to bring new people in?

New rules that would ban new recruits from having tattoos below the elbows and knees or above the neckline have been approved by the Army, military magazine Stars and Stripes reports. The new policy has been in consideration for a year and is awaiting the final signature of Army Secretary John McHugh.

New rules that would ban new recruits from having tattoos below the elbows and knees or above the neckline have been approved by the Army, military magazine Stars and Stripes reports. The new policy has been in consideration for a year and is awaiting the final signature of Army Secretary John McHugh.

The new rules only apply to Army soldiers, as other military branches have their own standards governing appearance and grooming. While current soldiers may be exempt from the new policy; newcomers are responsible to pay for tattoo removal themselves. All soldiers are prohibited from having tattoos that are “racist, sexist or extremist.”

The Army last revised its policy on tattoos in 2006, allowing soldiers to have them on their hands and the back of their necks to boost recruitment for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recruitment goals for the Army have dropped in recent years and because of the economy, finding new soldiers to join hasn’t been that much of an issue.

With the economy recovering, the Army is bracing for recruitment challenges for 2014. Would its new policy on tattoos make it even harder for the Army to bring new people in?

Guest:
Lance Bacon, reporter at Army Times

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