Veteran's and Military Issues
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Updated: May 20, 2013
- Defense Secretary Orders Army to Retrain Sexual Assault Prevention Officers - In the wake of a new report showing rising numbers of military sexual assault and allegations of misconduct against officials charged with preventing this behavior in the first place, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the U.S. military to "re-train, re-credential and re-screen" military recruiters and sexual-assault prevention officers. In a further development, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told reporters this morning he is "open" to taking authority over military sexual assault cases out of the hands of individual commanders who can act at their own discretion and are often not trained to handle these cases.
- Take action to change the way the military handles sexual assault: Urge your representative to cosponsor the STOP Act!
- In the News: Sen. Gillibrand's crusade: Fighting sexual assault in the military
- May 15 was the deadline for the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines to submit their individualized plans for ending the ban on women serving in combat roles. Then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced the policy change in January, and the process of implementing the plans and removing the ban is expected to conclude by January 1, 2016.
- In the News: Military leaders open to power shift in sexual-assault investigations - Two senior military officers said for the first time Friday that they were “open” to proposed legislation that would overhaul military law in response to an epidemic of sexual assaults, acknowledging that victims lack faith in commanders to handle the problem.
- In the News: Baffling Rise in Suicides Plagues U.S. Military
- In the News: Army Sex Abuse Official Accused of Running Prostitution Ring - "Agents from the Army's Criminal Investigation Division were looking into allegations that an Army sergeant first class at Fort Hood, Texas, sexually abused females in his unit and ran a prostitution ring on the base, Pentagon officials said Tuesday night."
- In the News: Hagel orders retraining of sex-assault prevention officers; Army sergeant investigated - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday evening ordered the armed services to immediately “re-train, re-credential and re-screen” tens of thousands of military recruiters and sexual-assault prevention officers as the revelation of another sex-crime scandal rocked the Pentagon.
- Military Sexual Assaults have increased by one third since 2010 - A Defense Department report released Tuesday estimates that the number of sexual assaults in the military increased by 35 percent between 2010 and 2012, rising to 26,000 victims. The issue of military sexual assault received additional attention earlier this week when the officer in charge of the Air Force's sexual assault prevention office, Jeffrey Krusinski, was arrested and charged with sexual battery. When asked about the Defense Department report, President Obama said: "Bottom line is, I have no tolerance for this. I have communicated this to the secretary of defense. We're going to communicate this again to folks up and down the chain in areas of authority. And I expect consequences."
- In the News: Army investigates sergeant for alleged sexual assault - The Army announced Tuesday that a sergeant first class assigned to an assault prevention program at Fort Hood, Texas, is under investigation for sexual assault.
- In the News: Feinstein: Review military sexual assault cases outside command chain - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and two House Democrats who are veterans of the Iraq war on Sunday called for military sexual assault cases to be reviewed outside the chain of command. "I think it has to be taken out of the command decision-making," Feinstein said on NBC News's "Meet The Press." "It's clear that there's too much excuse, and this has got to stop. And there has to be zero tolerance, and that has to be supported by a separate judicial process, whether it's a full court-martial process or anything else, apart from the military command structure."
- In the News: Pentagon grapples with sex crimes by military recruiters- The extent of the problem is hard to ascertain because the Defense Department does not keep figures on recruiters accused of sex crimes. The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps track incidents separately, but there is no uniform standard, which makes statistical comparisons difficult.
- In the News: Secretary McHugh calls for more base closures
- In the News: Pentagon Study Finds Sharp Rise in Military Sexual Assults
- In the News: Senator Gillibrand on May 8: "Next week, I'll introduce legislation in the U.S. Senate to reform the way the military handles cases of sexual assault and other violent acts. I'm pleased that The New York Times editorial board agrees that these cases must be taken outside the assault victim's chain of command. In the wake of yesterday's Pentagon report estimating a 37% increase in sexual assaults, as well as this weekend's arrest of the officer in charge of ending sexual assaults in the U.S. Air Force...for sexual battery, we must act to curb and prosecute these violent acts, and work to end sexual assault in the military for good."
- In the News: General’s promotion blocked over her dismissal of sex-assault verdict
- In the News: Air Force sex assault prevention chief charged in sex assault
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs launched a Women Veterans hotline – 1.855.VA.WOMEN (829.6636) – to help women veterans and their families learn about the department's healthcare services and resources.
- STOP Act Aims to End Sexual Assault in the Military - AAUW backs many initiatives to address the problem of sexual assault in the military.
- Urge your representative to cosponsor the STOP Act (H.R. 1593).
- In the News: After sex assault case, Hagel seeks changes to military legal process - In response to an Air Force colonel's overturned sexual assault conviction, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is asking Congress to limit military commanders' authority to toss out court-martial verdicts.
- In the News: Veterans fight changes to disability payments
- In the News: Institute of Medicine Study Links PTSD, Sexual Assault in Military
- In the News: Rep. Slaughter introduces bill to allow abortions for service women at military hospitals
- Pentagon Close to Finalizing New Regulations for Handling Sexual Assault - On Friday, the federal government announced it had completed its review of new Defense Department regulations for preventing and responding to sexual assault cases in the military. The new provisions, which are still being finalized, include the creation of a Sexual Assault Advisory Council at the Defense Department to oversee enforcement, guidelines clarifying reporting responsibilities, and an option allowing victims to report crimes confidentially.
- AAUW in the News: Military Sexual Assault Hearings Begin
- With 19,000 Military Sexual Assaults a Year, Isn’t It Time To Do Something? - This is a guest post from Holly Kearl. Holly advocates for gender equity in the workplace and schools by managing the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund, and she advocates for safe public spaces for women and girls through the organization she founded, Stop Street Harassment.
- Secretary of Defense to Review Air Force Decision to Overturn Sexual Assault Verdict - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel will review an Air Force lieutenant general's decision to dismiss a guilty verdict in a sexual assault case that got the attention of several senators and has raised the question of removing these cases from the military chain of command altogether. Also this week, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand held a committee hearing on sexual assault in the military and the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services examined the issue.
- AAUW submitted written testimony for both hearings (Senate committee and the Defense Advisory Committee), and AAUW Executive Director Linda Hallman, CAE, spoke before the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.
- In the News: NYS Senator Gillibrand Presses Military Officials on Sexual Assault
- In the News: Veterans Testify on Rape and Scant Hope of Justice
- In the News: Military rape victims: Stop blaming us
- In the News: Veterans’ affairs won’t comply with gun law
- In the News: Cuomo appoints new veterans’ affairs head
- In the News: Vets' PTSD Affects Mental and Physical Health of Partners
- In the News: Army orders reforms for mental health care treatment
- In the News: Report details flaws in Army's handling of PTSD
- In the News: Air Force general’s reversal of pilot’s sexual-assault conviction angers lawmakers - An Air Force general’s decision to overturn the conviction of a standout fighter pilot on sexual assault charges is stirring anger on Capitol Hill, where some lawmakers say they are losing patience with the military after a string of related scandals.
- Katie Miller on LGBT Rights and Women in Combat
- AAUW's Linda Hallman: End of Combat Ban Will Give Women Recognition They Deserve
- President Obama's second-term cabinet continued to take shape this week as the Senate confirmed former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and former White House chief of staff Jack Lew as treasury secretary. AAUW will continue to urge the Department of Defense to curb sexual assault in the military, and we hope Hagel will make sexual assault prevention a high priority.
- In the News: Trauma Sets Female Veterans Adrift Back Home
- In the News: Attacked at 19 by an Air Force Trainer, and Speaking Out
- In the News: Bill Would Fulfill 'Long-Overdue Promise' for Veterans Facing Trauma From Sexual Assault
- In the News: Listen up ladies! Uncle Sam might want you too
- In the News: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will go to war against sexual assault in military in upcoming hearing - Next month’s hearing is believed to be the first the U.S. Senate has convened on the problem since 1997. Gillibrand will summon sexual assault victims and military officials to the hearing to discuss what can be done to stop it.
- Pentagon Extends Certain Benefits to Same-Sex Couples
- In the News: The U.S. Military Invented a Medal for Drone "Pilots"?!?
- In the News: PSTD vets given drugs against guidelines
- In the News: Pentagon Extends Some Benefits to Same-Sex Partners
- In the News: Inside the Military Rape Cult
- In the News: U.S. military veteran suicides rise, one dies every 65 minutes
- In the News: Why Are Suicides Climbing in the Military? Let's Look at the Drugs Being Prescribed
- In the News: U.S. military not getting enough sleep
- In the News: US Military Struggling to Stop Suicide Epidemic Among War Veterans
- In the News: VA Awards Grants To Expand Health Services for Female Veterans
- In the News: Active Duty Military Personnel Prone to Sleep Disorders and Short Sleep Duration
- In the News: Auditors: Defense Department slow to develop sexual-assault policies
- In the News: For Vets, Dorms Meet Domesticity
- Pentagon Lifts Ban on Women Serving in Combat
- In the News: Armed Forces in Canada Resolved Issue Long Ago - “It doesn’t even enter into conversation anymore,” said Capt. Jaime Phillips, a female artillery officer who commanded not only Canadian men but male American and Afghan combat troops in Afghanistan. “It’s just so ingrained in my generation that it seems silly to hear the same old arguments again.”
- In the News: Wife of female Army officer can join spouses club
- In the News: Map: Which countries allow women in front-line combat roles?
- In the News: Military Leaders Testify How Conditions at Base Fueled Widespread Sexual Assaults
- In the News: Military Rules Leave Gay Spouses Out in Cold
- In the News: Sex Is Major Reason Military Commanders Are Fired
- Sign Petition Supporting The Invisible War
- In the News: Military Suicides Outpace Combat Deaths
- In the News: Sex Crimes Continue to Plague US Military
- In the News: Weak Progress on Ending Military Sexual Assault
- In the News: Almost half of new vets seek disability
Pentagon Extends Certain Benefits to Same-Sex Couples
As one of his last moves in President Obama’s Cabinet, outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta extended certain benefits to same-sex couples in the military. Among the benefits are access to family support initiatives and joint duty assignments. Yet even with this action, the federal Defense of Marriage Act prohibits gay service members and their families from accessing more than 100 other benefits, including burial rights at national cemeteries and on-base housing. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a court case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act next month.
AAUW believes that no American should be denied the full range of civil rights and civil liberties due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. AAUW is committed to freedom in the definition of family and a guarantee of civil rights in all family structures.
- from AAUW's Washington Update for February 15, 2013.
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Pentagon Lifts Ban on Women Serving in Combat
Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is receiving praise after Thursday’s announcement that the Defense Department will lift the ban preventing women from serving in combat roles. This decision is expected to open up more than 200,000 positions to servicewomen, and many of the positions could come with greater opportunities for promotion and higher pay, Panetta has given each branch of the armed services until 2016 to request waivers for any positions it believes should not be opened to women.
AAUW opposes all forms of discrimination on the basis of sex and pushes for the equal treatment of women in the military — not only in combat but also in the promotion of robust anti-harassment and anti-assault policies and access to health care, including contraception and abortion.
- from AAUW's Washington Update for January 25, 2013.
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