DoD

April 19, 2012

Panetta Vows to Continue Fighting Sexual Assault in Military

Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
DOD photo by Erin Kirk-Cuomo

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2012 – With the release of an annual report today on sexual assault in the military, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta vowed to continue fighting to stamp out the crime among service members.

DOD officials delivered the Report on Sexual Assault in the Military to the House and Senate armed service committees today. The report noted there were 3,192 reports of sexual assault in fiscal 2011 compared with 3,158 in fiscal 2010, a one percent increase.

“Sexual assault has no place in this department,” said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in a press release on the report. “It is an affront to the basic American values we defend, and to the good honor of our service members and their families.”

Countering sexual assault has been one of the secretary’s top priorities since taking office last year. Panetta wants all members of the department “to do everything we can to reduce and prevent sexual assault, to make victims of sexual assault feel secure enough to report this crime without fear of retribution or harm to their career, and to hold the perpetrators appropriately accountable.”

The secretary will meet with members of Congress next week to propose new measures to counter sexual assault and give DOD new tools to erase this scourge.

The report details ways the department is working to implement its sexual assault prevention and response plan. The first step is to institutionalize prevention strategies across the services. DOD looks to influence the knowledge, skills and behaviors of service members to prevent sexual assaults from happening. Officials are looking to training, a social media campaign and posters/commercials to increase awareness and encourage good behaviors.

The strategy also looks to increase the confidence those who have been assaulted have in the reporting process. DOD wants to engender a positive and supportive command climate that encourages people to reports cases of sexual assault. The department also wants to reduce stigma and other barriers that deter reporting.

The report also details additional programs, policies and activities that will improve the response to sexual assault. It details the new 24/7 hotline for sexual assault victims and improvements to education for case workers, as well as new exams and health care for victims of sexual assault.

The report also recommends ways to improve service through system accountability. “In fiscal 2011, commanders had sufficient evidence to take disciplinary action against 989 subjects,” the report says. “For the 791 subjects who could be disciplined for a sexual assault offense, 62 percent had courts-martial charges preferred for a sexual assault offense, 24 percent received nonjudicial punishment under Article 15 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice and 14 percent received a discharge or another adverse administrative action.”

This is a 10 percent increase in courts-martial over fiscal 2010, the report says. The proportion of military subjects against whom commanders decided to take disciplinary action for sexual assault offenses by preferring court-martial charges has increased steadily since fiscal 2007, when only 30 percent of subjects had charges initiated against them.

Finally the strategy looks to “improve stakeholder knowledge.” This means reaching out to service members about the sexual abuse prevention and response program. It also means reaching out to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. It further means taking the message of the mission to non-traditional audiences to enlist their support for the effort.

Panetta appointed Air Force Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog to oversee the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. He also directed several new victim-focused policies that have been implemented since the end of fiscal 2011. Among these are expanded legal assistance, expedited transfers for victims of sexual assault and extended retention of forensic examination and investigative reports.

Other initiatives to enhance prevention and response efforts include establishing a sexual assault advocate credentialing and certification program; expanding sexual assault support services to military spouses and adult military dependents; expanding emergency care and support services to DOD civilians stationed abroad and DOD U.S. citizen contractors in combat areas; and increasing funding for investigators and judge advocates to receive additional specialized training.

The department is also assessing how the department trains commanding officers and senior enlisted leaders on sexual assault prevention and response.

“As this report makes clear, we have more work to do to confront this problem,” Panetta said in the release. “There are no easy answers, but that makes it all the more essential for us to devote our energy and our attention to trying to confront this challenging crime.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
DoD

Joint Strike Fighter on track, costs coming down, Kendall says

Indications are that the F-35 joint strike fighter program — the most expensive aviation program in Defense Department history — is on track, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics told a Senate panel June 19. Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee this morning, Frank Kendall said the F-35 will be...
 
 
DoD
WEBarmy-jltv2

Joint Light Tactical Vehicle ‘closes capability gap,’ Army says

While the Humvee has served the Army well for some 25 years, there’s a “capability gap” in what it can do for warfighters on a 21st-century battlefield, said the Soldier responsible for overseeing its replacem...
 
 
DoD
Marine Corps photograph by Lance Cpl. Casey Scarpulla

Marines practice crisis response mission, render humanitarian aid

Marine Corps photograph by Lance Cpl. Casey Scarpulla Marines and Sailors provide medical aid and disaster assistance at Kiwanis Park in Yuma, Ariz. during a Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Recovery Exercise conducted by Marin...
 

 
DoD

DOD releases fiscal 2014 defense budget proposal

President Barack Obama April 10 sent to Congress a proposed defense budget of $526.6 billion in discretionary budget authority to fund defense programs in the base budget for fiscal year 2014. The budget continues the department’s commitment to good stewardship of taxpayer dollars by seeking further consolidation of defense infrastructure, instituting a study of possible...
 
 
DoD

DOD looks at funding’s effect on personnel, programs

Defense Department officials are looking at the recently signed continuing resolution that funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year to discern how the legislation affects personnel and programs, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said March 27. The legislation may mean fewer furlough days for defense civilian employees. “The full range of options...
 
 
DoD

F-35B successfully completes AIM-120 separation

Lockheed Martin photograph On March 26, the F-35B Lightning II became the first F-35 variant to complete airborne weapons separations on three different munitions, the most of any model. Navy test pilot Lt. Cmdr. Michael Burks released an AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile from BF-3 over water in the Atlantic Test Ranges. The F-35B is...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin