Soldiers are now awaiting the release of new grooming standards.
After more than a year of speculation, the secretary of the Army signed off on the soon-to-be-revealed regulations dictating standards on everything from tattoos and fingernail polish to uniform wear.
The Army Publishing Directorate will have updated regulations within the next few weeks outlining just what changes there will be, officials said Friday.
These long-awaited uniform policies will replace more than 50 all-Army contact messages. Some of the contents also will be punitive.
“We are dedicated to ensuring soldiers and leaders have easy access to policies to ensure our Army maintains a professional, neat and soldierly appearance, which is the foundation of our profession,” stated an Army news release.
Toward the end of 2012, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler touted his desire to rein in the regulations that were relaxed to increase the recruiting pool. In particular, he spoke out against the increase of visible tattoos on soldiers.
It’s a problem that jeopardizes the reputation and professionalism of both individual soldiers and the Army as a whole, Chandler said.
Before Friday’s announcement, regulation allowed for body ink on soldiers as long as the tattoos are not “on the head, face and neck above the Class A uniform collar.” Tattoos deemed as extremist, indecent, sexist or racist are not allowed anywhere on the body. Soldiers who refuse to remove inappropriate tattoos can be discharged.
It has yet to be announced if soldiers’ tattoos will be grandfathered in.
Officials emphasized regulations will be released within three to four weeks and disseminated as widely as possible.