Pentagon Targets Sexual Assaults in the Military

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta condemned sexual assaults in the military as he announced new policies aimed at curbing the problem. Such assaults are “an affront to the basic American values we defend, and it is a stain on the good honor of the great majority of our troops and . . . families,” said Panetta during a press conference on Wednesday. He said the Pentagon will establish a certification program for advocates of sexual assault victims, expand reporting options for service members and their families, increase funding to investigate sexual assault claims, and evaluate leaders’ training and responses to reported sexual assaults. “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 crime,” said Panetta. The number of reported sexual assaults in the Air Force increased slightly from Fiscal 2009 to Fiscal 2010, according to Defense Department data released last March. (AFPS report by Karen Parrish) (Panetta transcript) (See also An Air Force War on Sexual Assaults from Air Force Magazine’s January issue.)