The Sergeant Major of the Army, Raymond Chandler, announced to the US Army troops, new grooming standards that will be enforced for all new recruits by the start of the year 2014. The new rule changes, to Army Regulation 670-1, have been approved by Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, and are waiting the official signing. The new standards will apply only to the US Army, and will include governances over tattoos, dress, grooming, and appearance, among other things.
The section of the new Army Regulations that will have the greatest impact is that regarding tattoos. Sergeant Major Chandler stated that the new policy will not allow tattoos to appear below the elbows, below the knees, or above the neckline. This policy will apply to new recruits, and all others will be grandfathered in, however there will be restrictions that will apply to those soldiers already in service.
Once this new policy is implemented, all soldiers will be required to meet with their unit leader and “self-identify” each of their tattoos. Any tattoo that is racist, sexist, gang related, or extremist in nature, will be in violation, and removal of those tattoos will be at the expense of those in violation.
Some of the other changes that will be instituted under Army Regulation 670-1 are as follows:
*Sideburns will not extend below the top of the ear.
*Soldiers will be clean shaven on and off duty including during leave.
*Female fingernail length will not extent more than ¼” beyond the fingertip and fake nails are prohibited.
*Soldiers will not engage in other activities while walking where a hand salute is required towards a superior officer (eating, smoking, cell phone use, etc.)
*Civilian clothing standards will be implemented for both on and off duty, and on and off Post.
*No visible body piercings on or off duty, and on or off post. Males will never be allowed to wear earrings. Ear gauging will be unauthorized.
*Other governances will cover make-up, fingernail polish, hair styles, and hair coloring.
Sergeant Major Chandler indicated each soldier and new recruits will be supplied with a pamphlet covering the new changes to the grooming code. Chandler indicated that the Army wants its soldiers to stand out because of his/her accomplishments, and not because of their individual appearance. It is a matter of projecting a professional, uniform persona, and some sacrifice will be necessary to achieve this goal.
Other branches of the Armed Forces are lauding the Army for the change in policy which they view to be long overdue.
During the same announcement, Sergeant Major Chandler revealed the Army will phase in the new Combat Uniforms sometime around May or June 2014. The pattern will be similar to the current “Multicam” pattern however; the uniforms will vary in color; for example, one for jungle warfare and one for desert warfare. This will be a departure from the current universal color camouflage utilized. Manufacturers have submitted proposals, but it does not appear final approval for expenditures have come from Congress. Changing colors of the uniforms means changes in backpacks, body armor, boots, helmet covers, etc.
There are many proponents of these changes that feel all of this has been a long time coming. The opponents feel these changes are only the result of the military converting from a wartime Army to a peacetime Army, and as soon as the next war is engaged, all these restrictions will be forgotten or rescinded.