The Army disqualified 588 soldiers this week for infractions ranging from sexual assault to child abuse to drunk driving. The nearly 600 soldiers that were disqualified were not just any soldiers but included sexual assault counselors, recruiters and drill sergeants, reported USA Today on Feb. 26, 2014.
Undoubtedly, sexual assault in the military has become a crisis that needs to be dealt with. But what if the person that is supposed to deal with a problem and be supportive has the problem himself or herself. How can counselors, recruiters, and drill sergeants who are in “a position of trust” be trusted if their record shows that they are guilty of sexual assault, child abuse, and drunk driving themselves?
The Army’s disqualification of 588 soldiers came after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered that troops in sensitive positions be screened for previous criminal or unethical behavior.
“Hagel called for the review in May after a Pentagon study found troops reported that incidents of unwanted sexual contact had risen 35% from 2010 to 2012. Hagel has ‘been exceedingly clear about the need to continue stamping out sexual assault from our ranks,’ said his spokesman, Rear Adm. John Kirby.”
Last year, the intense screening resulted in the suspension of 55 soldiers by the Army when the review first began. After combing through more than 20,000 records, the number has now gone up to almost 600.
The Army disqualifying 588 soldiers that were supposed to be in trustworthy positions explains why nine out of 10 sexual assault victims in the Army choose not to report an attack. "The numbers are staggering," said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif. who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “I also want to applaud the leadership in the Department of Defense for scrubbing what has been a cancerous culture."