In yet another move to modernize our Navy, officials have relaxed the standards governing the number and placement of sailors' tattoos.
Beginning this month, sailors will be permitted one small tattoo on the neck, and there will no longer be any restrictions on the size or number of tattoos sailors can have below their knees or elbows. Additionally, sailors with tattoos covering most or all of their arms are now available to be assigned to recruiting offices or training facilities.
The new rules were announced last Thursday. Officials said the changes are in response to changing attitudes and the prevalence of tattoos among currently serving sailors and the recruitment population.
"This policy change is about being honest with ourselves, and putting policies in place that reflect tattoo realities in the nation we serve," said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen. Christensen, the spokesman for the Chief of Naval Personnel, went on to say, "The Navy strives to reflect the nation we serve, to attract, recruit and retain the nation's best talent."
The Navy was not the first branch to adjust its standards to evolving social norms. Just last year, the Army made similar changes to its policies.
Currently, the Navy prohibits tattoos on the neck. The new regulations would allow sailors to have tattoos one inch in size in any direction on the neck. Remaining unchanged, however, is the Navy's prohibition of tattoos on the head, face, ears or scalp.
The Navy's limitations on the content of the tattoos will remain the same. Sailors' tattoos cannot be "prejudicial to good order, discipline and morale, or be of a nature that brings discredit upon the naval service." Also prohibited are tattoos that are deemed racist, sexist or extremist.