Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault: The problem of sexual assault in the Air Force is one that Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III takes very personally. Speaking with reporters Tuesday after his speech at AFA’s Air & Space Conference, Welsh said: “I get emotional about this. This one bothers me in the biggest way, and it has for a long time. This is a horrible crime, and it’s not just the [victims], it’s the family, friends, the organization … it just sucks the life” out of everyone affected by the crime. “The idea that we can’t protect people in our Air Force from predators kills me.” The Air Force, he said, will “focus everything we can … to prevent the crime … make sure it only happens once if it does happen, so we don’t have a predator with multiple incidents, make sure our reporting procedures are right, make sure our victims are well handled from the very first indication of the problem, and then make sure we have a prosecution process that allows us to maximize the tools available to us to find and discipline after the fact.” He then promised “this is not something I will stop working on. … This is unacceptable. The number is going to be about 600 sexual assaults in the Air Force this year. That’s obscene. … The goal is not a declining trend, the goal is zero. And we’ll be looking for help wherever we can find it.”