04/02/2015 05:04 pm ET Updated Apr 02, 2015

Army To Remove Limit On Tattoos

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The Army announced Wednesday that it will soon do away with its limit on the number and size of tattoos allowed for soldiers.

The change was first revealed by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno at the Association of the United States Army conference in Alabama, according to Army Times. It will replace the current policy, which was last updated in 2014 and limited soldiers to four tattoos below the elbow and knee, with the size limited to that of the soldier's hand. Under the new rules, tattoos deemed offensive or located on body parts such as the head, neck or face are still banned.

"There is a large portion of the American society that has tattoos," Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey told Army Times. "There was a population that we were disqualifying from military service because of this new regulation."

A Fox News poll last year found that 36 percent of military members had a tattoo. Staff Sgt. James Campbell estimated the rate much higher, once saying, "Across combat arms especially, probably a good 90 percent of everyone has a tattoo."

An exact date for the change has not yet been announced, but an Army spokesperson said it was expected "in the very near future."

Previous changes to Army Regulation 670-1, which governs wear and appearance, caused controversy last year after concerns it unfairly targeted black women's hair. Those rules were subsequently repealed.