JALALABAD, Afghanistan – In the works for more than a year, strict new rules governing things like tattoos and grooming for soldiers have been approved by the Secretary of the Army and are only awaiting a final signature, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler said Saturday.

Under the new policy, new recruits will not be allowed to have tattoos that show below the elbows and knees or above the neckline, Chandler told troops. Current soldiers may be grandfathered in, but all soldiers will still be barred from having any tattoos that are racist, sexist or extremist.

Once the rules are implemented, soldiers will sit down with their unit leaders and “self identify” each tattoo. Soldiers will be required to pay for the removal of any tattoo that violates the policy, Chandler said.

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