President Barack Obama on Thursday vowed a “sustained effort” to crack down on sexual assault in the military, saying that the rash of violence is “dangerous to our national security.”
“The reason we are so good is not because of fancy equipment, it’s not because of our incredible weapons systems and technology, it’s because of our people,” he said, according to a pool report. “It comes down to do people trust each other and do they understand that they’re all part of a single system that has to operate under whatever circumstances effectively. The issue of sexual assault in our armed forces undermines that trust.”
The president’s remarks came after a meeting with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey and the military service chiefs to address the issue of sexual assault in the armed forces.
Obama said that those military leaders are “ashamed by some of what’s happened” and that he has asked Hagel and Dempsey to lead an effort to overhaul the military’s system.
Public pressure to change the military’s policy has mounted since two military officials charged with preventing such cases have been accused of committing acts of sexual violence.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday unveiled a bill that would prevent military commanders from handling sexual assault cases involving their subordinates.
This story was originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:51 PM EDT