Thursday, 27 September 2012

DoD cracks down on sexual assaults by trainers

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered a “comprehensive assessment” of all boot camps and entry-level training programs across the military to identify ways to reduce the frequency of sexual assault.
The internal probe comes in the wake of a scandal at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where 43 women have come forward with allegations that training instructors sexually assaulted them at the Air Force’s largest training command.
“This assessment will look across the services into several key areas including the selection, training, and oversight of basic training instructors and leaders who directly supervise initial military training for officers and enlisted personnel,” the Pentagon announced in a statement Tuesday.
“The study will also look at the instructor-to-student ratio, the ratio of leaders in the chain of command to instructors, and consider the potential benefits of increasing the number of female instructors,” the statement said.
This is the latest move by Panetta to crack down on sexual assaults in the military, which he estimates to number about 19,000 each year. Earlier this year, Panetta changed rules for handling sexual assault complaints by requiring an O-6-level commander to review each case to determine whether it should be dismissed or investigated further.

The latest internal review also instructs the services to review how and when sexual assault prevention training is provided to new recruits and their trainers.
Panetta ordered each of the services to report back to him on the status of the review by Feb. 8, 2013.
At a higher level, Panetta also ordered the services to expand the training provided to officers preparing to assume command of a unit and their senior enlisted leaders. That training should include “interactive instruction with vignettes, exercises, and classroom discussion,” the Pentagon’s report said.
The secretary said the services should develop those new training efforts by the end of the year and begin implementing them by March 30, 2013.

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