Defense

March 27, 2013

Performance reviews should show how military commanders handle sex assault complaints

A new report required by Congress recommends that the Defense Department assess how well commanding officers handle sexual assault and harassment complaints when reviewing their job performance.

The Institute of Medicine said in the report released March 26 that military sexual assault appears to be an important factor in the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. It cited previous research indicating that female veterans with a reported history of military sexual trauma were nine times more likely to have PTSD compared with other female veterans.

“Increased efforts by DOD are necessary, and a zero-tolerance approach should be implemented,” said the Institute of Medicine, an independent agency that provides advice concerning health and science to policymakers in the federal government and private sector.

The recommendation about sexual assaults was part of a broad look at the health needs of troops and veterans involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although most of the returning troops have adjusted well to life after deployment, 44 percent have reported some readjustment problems.

The most common overlapping health problems are PTSD, substance abuse, depression and symptoms attributed to traumatic brain injuries.

But the problems seen today are really just the beginning, the report said.

“Previous wars have demonstrated that veterans’ needs peak several decades after their war service,” the IOM panel said.

To prepare for those costs, the federal government should undertake long-term cost forecasts like those that Congress requires for Social Security and Medicare, the IOM said. It said those forecasts should be conducted annually and publicly released by the Veterans Affairs Department and confirmed by an independent expert.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in the deployment of about 2.2 million troops as of mid-December, it said. Women have played a central role in the efforts. They make up 14 percent of active-duty troops and nearly 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve personnel. The panel’s recommendations often focused on the needs of returning female veterans. It said recent research indicates that female veterans have a higher risk of developing depression than their male counterparts, though they are less likely to commit suicide.

“For more than a decade, female military service members have been subject to repeat deployments, have endured prolonged separation from families, have served side by side with men and have been exposed to harsh wartime conditions, including witnessing death and destruction,” the report said.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said the department would consider the study’s findings and recommendations, and she stressed that sexual assault was not tolerated at the department.

“We are committed to taking care of our people, and that includes doing everything possible to develop the best programs for our service members and their families,” Smith said.

The IOM report also said the support services the Defense Department provides to military families tends to focus on married, heterosexual couples and their children. The panel said the military needs to ensure its support services also help single parents, same-sex couples and stepfamilies.

The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments are required to provide Congress with a joint response by June.

 




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


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by A1C Erin OíShea

U.S. Forces display military might at Farnborough

Air Force photograph by A1C Erin O’Shea Capt. Tom Meyers discusses the F-15E Strike Eagle’s capabilities with spectators July 17, 2014, at the Farnborough International Airshow in England. Public access was granted ...
 
 
raptors4

Raptors, Falcons fuel up in desert skies

Three U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors assigned to the 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 93rd Air Refueling Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Wash., during Red Flag 14-3, Ju...
 
 
Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler

Sun sets on Red Flag 14-3

Air Force photograph by A1C Thomas Spangler The sun sets behind a row of F-16 Fighting Falcons during Red Flag 14-3, July 16, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag provides a series of intense air-to-air combat scenario...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Siuta B. Ika

AOC integral to Red Flag 14-3 operations

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Siuta B. Ika Members of the Air and Space Operations Center work during Red Flag 14-3 operations July 22, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Armed with personnel from intelligence and communicati...
 
 
red-flag1

Red Flag night operations soar into darkness

Singapore air force aircraft maintainers walk down the flightline looking for foreign object debris before night operations begin during Red Flag 14-3, July 16 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Red Flag exercises involve air and g...
 
 
Air Force photo by Ken LaRock

First aviation mechanic display added to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Air Force photo by Ken LaRock A bronze bust honoring the first aviation mechanic, Charles E. Taylor, is now on permanent display in the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force’s Early Years Gallery. The museum is located ne...
 




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>