Hagel Meets With Sexual Assault Response Systems Review Panel
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 27, 2013 Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had his first in-person meeting today with a panel that is reviewing the Defense Department’s response systems to sexual assaults and related crimes, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
Hagel previously had spoken to Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel members via teleconference, Little said. The Defense Department established the panel in accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, he added.
"The panel will conduct an independent review and assessment of the systems used to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate crimes involving sexual assault and related offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice,” the press secretary said in a statement summarizing today’s meeting. “It will develop recommendations to improve the effectiveness of those systems.”
During the administrative portion of the meeting, the secretary thanked the panel members for bringing their expertise to bear in helping the Defense Department address one of its most pressing challenges, Little said.
“Secretary Hagel made clear that his goal is to eradicate the crime of sexual assault from the military, and that he is open to all their ideas on how to accomplish this objective,” he added. “He believes the panel's findings and recommendations will play a critical role in ensuring that the department, working closely with Congress, makes well-informed decisions to improve sexual assault response and prevention -- considering all the options on the table.”
Hagel asked the panel to work deliberately and carefully, based on thorough research and analysis, but also emphasized the importance of acting quickly, Little said, and he pledged the department's full support for the panel's efforts.
"In addition to today's meeting, Secretary Hagel continues to hold regular weekly meetings of the top civilian and military leadership of the department focused solely on sexual assault prevention and response efforts," the press secretary added.