Updates to the Marine Corps' tattoo policy, addressing the size, placement and potential career ramifications of excessive ink, are expected to be released within weeks, Marine Corps Times has learned.
Notably, the new policy will provide specific instruction to Marines who want to serve on special duty assignments, such as recruiters, drill instructors and embassy guards.
Although a draft version of the policy is circulating among rank and file Marines, service officials declined to comment on the possible changes because the policy is still being revised, they said
Moreover, Marine Corps officials also cautioned personnel who may have obtained a draft not to get a tattoo before the final version of the policy is released via Marine administrative message. Doing so could land them in trouble if those tattoos are prohibited by the final policy.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller has said that the new policy will continue the service’s ban on sleeve tattoos, which cover all of a person’s arm or leg.
One goal of the tattoo policy review that he initiated is to consolidate guidance into a single comprehensive document, Neller told Marine Corps Times in a Jan. 20 interview.
"Marines don't ask for much, so when you can, you want to give them something," Neller said at the time. "At that other end, I say, "Look, we are not in a rock and roll band. We are Marines. We have a brand. People expect a certain thing from us."
The new policy is not expected to be as lenient as the Navy's, which recently relaxed its tattoo policy to allow sailors to have sleeves as well as tattoos on their necks. Last year, the Army updated its tattoo policy to allow for sleeve tattoos but not tattoos on soldiers' backs and hands.
Meanwhile, the Air Force has formed a working group to review its tattoo policy, which has not been updated since 2010.