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Army disqualifies 588 soldiers: Sexual assault probe musters alarming numbers

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When the Army disqualifies 588 soldiers as a result of a sexual assault probe and removes the 588 soldiers from positions of trust, people take notice. The hundreds of soldiers are removed from sensitive positions, which include sexual assault counselors, drill sergeants and recruiters, according to USA Today on Feb. 26.

When Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered that troops who hold sensitive positions be screened for previous unethical or criminal behavior. The number of dismissed soldiers is 10 times higher than what was expected to come out of this probe. In the initial review alone, 55 soldiers were suspended.

This was no little probe as the Army went through 20,000 records of the troupes and in the end it was 588 soldiers in total dismissed from their duty. When Hagel learned that a study found that unwanted sexual conduct had risen 35% from 2010 to 2012, he ordered this review.

This disqualifying of 588 soldiers sent a clear message that Hagel means business when it comes to having no tolerance for this unethical behavior of making sexual advances against someone’s will. He aims to “stamp out sexual assault from our ranks,” said Rear Admiral John Kirby.

While the number of 588 soldiers were reported to have been disqualified from working in positions of sensitivity, the Army didn’t provide the numbers of soldiers who were disqualified from their individual jobs, they didn’t release the numbers for those kicked out of the service or for those given other positions.

Sexual harassment has been condemned by the top brass and this latest decision to disqualify soldiers from their positions because they’ve engaged in the unethical behavior shows they mean what they say. The number is shocking, even though this is 588 out of the large number of 20,000 reviewed. It still says that almost 600 soldiers engaged in unwanted behavior towards their peers.

Senators from both New York and Missouri have proposals to bring this type of behavior to military authorities quickly for the proper channels to decide on the course of action. Career military prosecutors would take the cases out of the commanders hands for an unbiased way of handling future complaints, this is what is proposed by Senator Kristen Gillbarand of New York’s.

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri proposes to keep the commanders for input, but it doesn’t let them overturn decisions when it comes to these cases. While both senators seem to see the need for change, it is the senator from New York who seems to understand there is a need for a drastic change, as seen with her proposal.



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