Nearly a year after the Department of the Navy issued a tough policy barring sex offenders from Navy and Marine Corps bases, the service is struggling to enforce it.
Sex offenders must be identified and banned from all bases unless they receive a waiver, according to an Oct. 7, 2008, memo from then-Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter and a May 27 memo detailing the order.
But identifying sex offenders could require installations worldwide to check their many thousands of service members, civilians and dependents against flawed and sometimes inaccurate sex offender registries.
“We don’t want sex offenders in the Navy and we’re going to do whatever is required to make sure we’re effective,” current Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said Aug. 27 near Yokosuka Naval Base. “In terms of background checks and things like that, I don’t know. It’s an ongoing thing that we’re looking at.”
Winter’s order originally called for the policy to be implemented by last December. For now, anyone applying for on-base housing must sign a form stating whether they or their command-sponsored family members have committed a sex offense.