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Secretary of Defense releases statement regarding sexual assault incidents in the Army

Fort Hood
Fort Hood
Posted at 6:23 PM, Jun 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-22 19:25:10-04

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III released a statement Tuesday, June 22, in response to a report from the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment.

This is just after last week's released Rand Corp. study, on Army incidents regarding sexual assault, that reported female soldiers stationed at Texas bases, Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, faced the highest risk of sexual assault, according to an Associated Press article.

"The result is a comprehensive assessment across four lines of effort -- accountability, prevention, climate and culture, and victim care and support -- that recommends creative and evidence-based options," said Austin in the release. "It provides us real opportunities to finally end the scourge of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military."

Specific recommendations on the commission's findings will be presented to President Biden but after assessment, according to the statement, a plan will implemented enacting changes such as the revision of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and the military's approach to sexual assault prevention, command climate, and victim services.

"We will need to work closely with Congress to secure additional authorities and relief where needed," said the statement. "We will most assuredly require additional resources, both in personnel and in funding. But it may take us some time to determine how much and where they are most wisely applied."

The Department acknowledges that new resources and authorities may be needed to accommodate and implement the IRC report's recommendations.

"I appreciate the support that the Department’s civilian and military leaders have provided to the commission, and the thoughtfulness with which they have advised me as we develop effective ways to implement the changes we need to eliminate sexual assault and sexual harassment from our ranks," said Secretary of Defense Austin.