The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Statement by the Press Secretary on New DOD Initiatives to Eliminate Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces

The President has stated clearly that sexual assault is a crime that undermines the honor, integrity, and readiness of our Armed Forces.  He has charged the nation’s military leadership with “exponentially stepping up our game” when it comes to eliminating sexual assault.  Women and men who step forward to serve our country must be protected from this devastating crime, and offenders must be held appropriately accountable.  Today’s announcement by Secretary of Defense Hagel of new Executive Actions is the result of intensive effort by the Department of Defense -- including the senior civilian leadership and each of the Services -- to fulfill the President’s call to action.   The initiatives  announced today are substantial, but only a step along a path toward eliminating this crime from our military ranks.  The President expects this level of effort to be sustained not only in the coming weeks and months, but as far into the future as necessary.  We will continue to work with the Pentagon to make progress on this high priority goal because none of our men and women in uniform should ever have to experience the pain and degradation of sexual assault.

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