Memo outlines steps to address military sexual assault - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

New DoD procedures seek to eliminate sex assault in military

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Secretary of State Chuck Hagel issued new directives to address sexual assault in the military. (Source: CNN0 Secretary of State Chuck Hagel issued new directives to address sexual assault in the military. (Source: CNN0

(RNN) - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel released a statement Thursday outlining a series of steps to address and reduce sexual assault cases in the military.

"Eliminating sexual assault from the armed forces remains one of the Department of Defense's top priorities," Hagel said in a news release. "This effort requires our absolute and sustained commitment to providing a safe environment in which every service member and [Department of Defense] civilian is free from the threat of sexual harassment and assault."

In a memo, he unveiled seven directives. They are:

  • Creating a legal advocacy program in each military service that will provide legal representation to sexual assault victims throughout the judicial process;
  • Ensuring that pretrial investigative hearings of sexual assault-related charges are conducted by judge advocates general (JAG) officers;
  • Providing commanders with options to reassign or transfer a member who is accused of committing a sexual assault or related offense in order to eliminate continued contact while respecting the rights of both victims and the accused;
  • Requiring timely follow-up reports on sexual assault incidents and responses to be given to the first general or flag officer within the chain of command;
  • Directing DoD's inspector general to regularly evaluate closed sexual assault investigations;
  • Standardizing prohibitions on inappropriate behavior between recruiters and trainers and their recruits and trainees across the department, and;
  • Developing and proposing changes to the Manual for Courts-Martial that would allow victims to give input during the sentencing phase of courts-martial.

"Sexual assault is a stain on the honor of our men and women who honorably serve our country, as well as a threat to the discipline and the cohesion of our force. It must be stamped out," Hagel said.

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