Panetta Orders Actions to Curb Sex Assaults

WASHINGTON -- Each of the military services must review training policies and procedures to help stamp out sexual assault in basic training, according to a Defense Department directive announced Tuesday.

The review will focus on initial military training of new recruits, who are considered most vulnerable to sexual predators. The announcement comes in the wake of a scandal at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where a dozen male instructors were accused of sexual assaults and improper relationships with female trainees.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also ordered improved pre-command sexual assault prevention and response training for officers and senior enlisted members, including assessments to determine leaders' understanding of the concepts.

Although Panetta began rolling out measures to reduce military sexual assault soon after arriving at the Pentagon, the Lackland cases have weighed on his thinking, said Pentagon press secretary George Little.

"That review will assess initial training in several areas, including the selection, training and oversight of instructors and leaders who directly supervise trainees and officer candidates," Little said.

The review, to be completed by February 2013, will also look at the "potential benefit of increasing the number of female instructors conducting initial military training," he said.

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