Navy to restrict alcohol sales on base, part of new initiative to cut down on sexual assault

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Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert released a whole list of new rules Thursday, aimed at cutting down sexual assaults both on base and out at sea.

First, he will be limiting where and how liquor/alcohol will be sold—only dedicated package stores and the main base exchange will be allowed to sell those items, between the hours of 6 AM and 10 PM.

At the NEX, only 10% of floor space can be taken up by alcohol, and the displays have to be consolidated, near the back of the store.

The Navy will also make single use breathalyzers available at all NEX locations.

In addition to the alcohol policy changes, CNO Greenert is revamping the way the Navy supports sexual assault victims.

All major commands will now have a designated high ranking officer whose sole responsibility is to manage the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program for victims. Before, officers took on that responsibility, in addition to their actual job.

The Navy will also be hiring what’s called “Deployed Resiliency Counselors,” a dedicated civilian outside of the chain of command, who will actually deploy with ships out at sea, to be available to take sexual assault reports and connect victims with care.

Before, those who were assaulted while on deployment had to report to their chain of command, who often launched investigations before SAPR or NCIS was ever notified.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus is also providing $10 million to NCIS so they can hire 54 special agents and investigators, who will be dedicated to sexual assault cases, which will help them respond faster, and finish investigations in less time.

In addition, base commanders are ordering “roving barracks patrols” to increase visible presence of leadership, hoping to deter behavior that could lead to sexual assault.

The Navy will also be conducting surveys of facilities on base in need of better lighting, visibility, and safety improvements to reduce vulnerability of sailors walking alone.