SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – New U.S. Army uniform rules go into effect Thursday that restrict where on a soldier’s body visible tattoos will be allowed.

Tattoos that would be seen wearing short sleeves or a short shirt will be prohibited at a time when Americans of all stripes, especially young people, find it socially acceptable to get inked, often in very obvious places.

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“The Army knows it’s getting smaller, so it can be a bit more selective,” said Jeffrey McCausland, a retired Army colonel and CBS News military affairs and national security consultant.

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Tattoos and America’s armed forces have gone hand in hand since before World War II. Grandfather provisions for soldiers who signed up before the new regulations are going to create a headache for commanding officers, McCausland said.

“You’re going to have to record tattoos. You’re going to have to take photographs,” he said. “Having been a commander, I’m sure a whole bunch of first sergeants, platoon sergeants, and sergeant majors are kind of pulling their hair out right now trying to figure out how they’re going to enforce all of this.”

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McCausland said the new regulations bring the Army in line with reforms in other branches of the military.