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Sexual Assaults Doubled At West Point

 

West Point assault

By Debbie Gregory.

For the fourth year in a row,  sexual assault reports increased at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York. The 50 cases reported during the school year nearly doubled from the prior year, up from 26.

Both the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy saw only slight increases.

The Defense Department did try to put a positive spin on the latest numbers, saying that more people were feeling emboldened to report sexual abuse and that students are aware of treatment programs, showing confidence in the system.

Reporting a sexual assault is difficult for any victim, under any circumstance.  For those at military academies or serving in the military, the difficulty is compounded by the close living conditions inherent in there. Also, sexual assaults are sometimes accompanied by collateral misconduct (e.g. fraternization, sex in the barracks, breaking curfew, or underage drinking) on the part of the victim; issues which are either minor violations or non-existent rules at civilian schools but carry severe sanctions at the Academies.

The reports will rekindle a problem that has plagued the military as increasing numbers of women join the armed services. The increase in sexual assault reports in the service academies is similar to what is happening in the military as a whole.

“We are absolutely committed to making the Academies safe,” Robert Wilkie, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, said in a press release. “It is imperative that these future officers understand how eliminating sexual harassment and assault advances our ability to protect the nation.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Wilkie Pushes for Culture Shift Within the Military

wilkie

By Debbie Gregory.

Robert Wilkie, the Department of Defense’s new undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, is shifting the emphasis of the military culture to create a more stable, family friendly environment.

Wilke is responsible for Total Force Management as it relates to readiness; National Guard and Reserve component affairs; health affairs; training; and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and the quality of life for military families.

Wilkie understands that the constant moves made by servicemembers have a direct effect on their family members, limiting the career options of many military spouses, and prohibiting military children from putting down roots with friends and schools.

Wilkie, himself an Army brat, has walked the walk. He said, “If the families aren’t happy, the soldier walks.” Wilkie also serves in the Air Force Reserve.

Under the current system, troops are pushed out of the military if they don’t constantly advance along their career path. Wilkie said the Pentagon has come to the realization that it may need to change how the military operates in order to meet modern threats.

Wilkie credits growing up near Fort Bragg as great preparation for his new position. But he cites the readiness of the military as one of the issues that keeps him up at night. He said new planes are worthless if there are no people to maintain or fly them.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.