House Wants to Revamp Military Adult-Material Approval Board

Tod Hunter
WASHINGTON — The House Armed Services Committee wants to place new, specific guidelines on the structure of the Pentagon board that reviews periodicals, videos and recordings to determine whether they can be sold on military installations.

The board would be required to have nine members, at least one who has experience managing or advocating for military family programs, and is also eligible to shop in the commissaries and exchanges. Six would be appointed by the secretary of defense and the secretaries of the Army, Air Force and Navy would appoint one each.

Defense officials said that over the years, the board has included active, reserve and retired service members; military spouses; members of dual-military couples; and Defense Department civilians.

Under the House committee plan, the Defense Department would be required by law to make public their recommendations on whether an item should be sold on installations.

Since the board first met 10 years ago, it has reviewed 473 titles and determined 319 to be sexually explicit, according to Defense Department data as of September 2007. That includes 304 periodicals and 169 video and audio titles, of which 263 periodicals and 56 audio and video titles have been banned.

Some military community members and antiporn groups have expressed concern that Penthouse and Playgirl were allowed back into the exchanges after initially being banned, but the magazines had revamped their formats and were re-reviewed under a Pentagon rule that allows banned materials to be reconsidered every five years.