Tattoo You

In order to draw on a wider pool of potential recruits, the Air Force this week will release new accession standards for appearance and relax rules pertaining to some medical conditions, Secretary Deborah Lee James said on Jan. 6. Speaking to an AFA-sponsored, Air Force event in Arlington, Va., James said “we are opening up the aperture on tattoos” as well as previous marijuana use, which has been a disqualifier in the past, “because in some states, that’s legal now.” While the accession rules will be relaxed—one senior USAF official said there may even be a way to allow dreadlocks—USAF will continue to maintain high appearance standards for those on Active Duty and ensure that everyone remains eligible “for world-wide deployment.” The new rules are based on a frank look at national civilian practice, as well as “what the other services are doing” so USAF can remain competitive for the best talent.