Army Rethinks Tattoo Policy
As noted recently, the Army’s recruiting pool is constrained by a number of factors, one of which is a severe limitation on tatoos. Interestingly, the Army revised its tatoo regulations shortly before that report came out.
The Army has revised its policy on tattoos in an effort to bolster recruitment of highly-qualified individuals who might otherwise have been excluded from joining. Tattoos are now permitted on the hands and back of the neck if they are not “extremist, indecent, sexist or racist.” Army Regulation 670-1, which was modified via a message released Jan. 25, also now specifies:”Any tattoo or brand anywhere on the head or face is prohibited except for permanent make-up.” For women, allowable make-up would be permanent eye-liner, eyebrows and makeup applied to fill in lips, officials said. They said permanent make-up should be conservative and complement the uniform and complexion in both style and color and will not be trendy.
The change was made because Army officials realized the number of potential recruits bearing skin art had grown enormously over the years.
This strikes me as a reasonable balance. My dad got a tatoo on his forearm while he was in Vietnam and went on to serve another sixteen years. Many in his generation did the same. Still, we obviously don’t want people with swastikas and gang insignia tatooed on them, given the problems it would create in the barracks, nor do we want soldiers to be human freak shows.