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Press Secretary Cites Concerns of Sexual Assault in Ranks

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2011 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will issue “very direct guidance” in the coming months about how the department should respond to sexual assaults within the ranks, the Pentagon press secretary told reporters today.

George Little cited public commentary from Capitol Hill and elsewhere on the military’s sexual assault problem, and he said Panetta finds it “totally unacceptable.”

Panetta “had zero tolerance for this at the CIA when I worked with him there,” Little said, “and he believes that it’s no longer acceptable that we say we can just ‘do better’ on this. We need to take action.”

Potential actions are being discussed, but no final decisions have been made, he said.

The defense secretary is “troubled by what he understands are sexual assault problems inside the military,” Little said.

“In the coming months,” he continued, “you will see him issue very direct guidance to the department on this very important issue and problem.”

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Leon E. Panetta
George Little


Article is closed to new comments.

The opinions expressed in the following comments do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Defense.

11/25/2011 8:46:44 PM
If you really want change then you must involve the victims in the process. Please ask the victims to be part of this. Tom
- Thomas Mahowald, St Paul MN

11/20/2011 11:23:45 AM
If the Secretary is concerned then why hasn't he reached out to survivors of military sexual trauma and groups representing their interests for help with this issue? We are the ones that have survived the trauma and the military's inadequate response to it. Why is the Secretary only speaking about this issue after legislation has been introduced to remove control from operational commanders in how they handle sexual abuse? Finally, how does the Secretary plan to help those of us that were in the ranks when this happened to us and have been unfairly discharged because of reporting the trauma?
- Brian Lewis, Maryland

11/20/2011 4:38:54 AM
Finally being addressed. What tragedy that it is not seen as urgent to all others in power to do something about it.
- Merritt Pardew, Omaha, NE

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