DoD: Playboy, Penthouse Acceptable, not Indecent

Given the scandal over sexual assault in the US military right now, it may surprise some to learn that the DoD is defending its continued sale of pornography on military facilities.

Last month, Morality in Media wrote a letter to the Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel appealing to him to enforce the 1996 Military Honor and Decency Act, which prohibits the sale of sexually explicit material at DoD facilities.

As reported by MiM, the Assistant Secretary of Defense replied, saying the DoD had “previously reviewed” the magazines — and he then repeated the wording from several years ago, seemingly indicating no new assessment had been done:

The Resale Activities Board of Review previously reviewed the publications cited in your letter and determined that, based on the totality of each magazines’ content, they were not sexually explicit under the definition in section 2495b(e).  Therefore, the sale of these magazines on DoD property is permissible.

Interestingly, they are “explicit” enough to ban from combat areas like Afghanistan, but not explicit enough to ban from DoD facilities — despite the ongoing debate about sexual assault and its causes, even from US military JAGs.

To be clear, US troops aren’t allowed to have a USO poster of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders on their squadron wall, but they are allowed to buy Playboy, etc, in the Base Exchange — even though, as has been repeated frequently recently, they are ‘on duty’ and ‘representing the military 24/7.’