This week, the Army became one of the most lenient branches of service where it comes to tattoos by significantly loosening restrictions in response to its historic recruit deficit.
Sergeant Major Ashleigh Sykes, overseer of policies regarding wear and appearance of the uniform, said, “Social norms, people are getting more tattoos. It doesn’t stop readiness if someone has a tattoo on the back of their neck.”
Army eases tattoo restrictions with new policy ➡️ https://t.co/DoBQoCz0F8
— U.S. Army (@USArmy) June 23, 2022
While face and head tattoos will remain unauthorized — with some exceptions for permanent makeup — Soldiers may now have one tattoo that fits within a two-inch space on the back of their head. They may also have a one-inch tattoo behind each ear providing that it does not extend past the earlobe.
Additionally, Soldiers can have one tattoo on each hand and unlimited tattoos between fingers as long as they remain invisible while the Soldiers fingers are extended and joined.
This is only the newest of the Army’s recent desperate measures to attract otherwise uninterested candidates, including $50,000 signing bonuses and offering duty station of choice to new Soldiers.
This move by the Army comes as no surprise as the rest of the military also relaxes its grooming standards for the sake of attracting eligible recruits. For example, the Space Force just began allowing Guardians to wear neck tattoos and the Air Force relaxed its regulations on mustaches to allow for Airmen to grow them longer than they could previously.
According to Sykes, the Army has no plans to modify its regulation on mustaches.
Linden St. Clair, the Army’s assistant deputy for recruiting and retention said, “Anything that slows [the recruitment] process down, they can lose interest. This keeps them engaged. This is the most challenging recruiting environment in 20 years. It isn’t going to be one of those things that causes folks to start flocking into the military.”