The Department of Defense announced today that Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton will become the new director of the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) in July. The current director, Maj. Gen. Mary Kay Hertog, will retire in June after 34 years of service.
“It’s been a great privilege to have spent over 34 years serving my country, and to have had my final assignment in a position that so positively impacts our service members,” said Hertog.
During her tenure as SAPRO director, she implemented or set in motion several initiatives, ranging from expanded legal assistance and longer document retention standards for sexual assault victims, to offering victims an expedited transfer out of their unit or installation, to starting a program to certify and credential victim advocates and sexual assault response coordinators.
Additionally, she oversaw the expansion of DoD policy to allow adult military dependents to file restricted reports, and for DoD civilian employees and their adult dependents stationed outside the continental United States and DoD U.S.-citizen contractors in combat areas to receive emergency care and sexual assault response coordinator services during emergency treatment.
“It is as clear to me today -- as it was when I joined this office -- the department has a strong commitment to fighting sexual assault, and I know that commitment will never waver. I’m delighted with the selection of Maj. Gen. Gary Patton. He is the consummate professional and leader, and I know he will continue to work with the services and congressional members to prevent sexual assault in the military and to ensure victims of sexual assault receive the best care possible,” said Hertog.
Patton has 33 years of service with multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he is currently the principal director, the Office of Military Personnel and Policy. Patton was competitively selected for this position after reviewing several applications.
Patton is well known to many on the Hill because of his leadership in successfully implementing the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and from his most recent combat service as deputy commanding general, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan.
“Secretary Panetta has made it clear that one of his top priorities for the department is to reduce and prevent sexual assault. I am honored by this selection and the secretary’s trust in me. I look forward to continuing the good work of Mary Kay Hertog and to further advancing the initiatives she set in motion,” said Patton.
Additional information regarding the department’s Sexual Assault and Response Office can be found at http://www.sapr.mil/ .
UPDATE: Maj. Gen. Patton’s biography can be found at http://www.defense.gov/news/PattonBiography.pdf .