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GAO Report on Military Tattoo Policies

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Why GAO Did This Study

The House Committee on Armed Services and the military services have acknowledged recent challenges in recruiting, which they have attributed to a number of social and economic factors. Tattoo prevalence among American youth has increased, and Congress has expressed interest in the effect the armed forces’ tattoo policies have on recruitment and retention.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 includes a provision for GAO to review the armed forces’ tattoo policies. GAO examined the extent to which (1) tattoo policies exist for potential and current members of the armed forces, (2) the armed forces assess any effects of their tattoo policies on recruitment and retention of members, and (3) the armed forces have waiver processes for unauthorized tattoos.

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