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Army removes 588 troops from sensitive jobs

Obama's Unilateral Disarmament

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Army removed 588 soldiers from sensitive jobs such as sexual assault counselors and recruiters after finding they had committed infractions such as sexual assault, child abuse and drunken driving, officials said Wednesday.

The move resulted from orders by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last year that all the services review the qualifications of people holding those jobs as part of an effort to stem a rising number of sexual assaults in the military.

The Army said it reviewed the qualifications and records of 20,000 soldiers and found 588 unsuitable for their jobs as recruiters, drill sergeants, training school instructors and staff of sexual assault prevention and response programs. The Army said in a statement that 79 soldiers are leaving the service and "others could face further actions from their commands." The statement did not say whether the 79 are leaving voluntarily.

Lt. Col. Alayne Conway, an Army spokeswoman, said examples of soldier infractions found in the review included sexual assault, child abuse and drunken driving. It was unclear whether those had happened during their military service or before.

"We will continue working to better ensure we select the very best people for these posts, and that the chain of command knows what is expected of them, and how important this work is to the Army," Col. David Patterson, another Army spokesman, said in a statement.

The Navy looked at some 11,000 employees and found five unqualified. The Air Force said that of about 2,500 sexual assault victim advocates and assault response coordinators, two advocates were removed from their jobs because of problems with their backgrounds. The Marine Corps did not respond to requests for information about their reviews, but USA Today, which first reported the results of the reviews, said the Marines found no one to disqualify.

It was unclear why the other service branches reported so few problems, but Pentagon officials said one likely reason was that the Army did a more stringent review, going beyond what Hagel had ordered. It scrutinized not only its recruiting and sex assault response and prevention staffs, but also people in other jobs it calls "positions of trust," such as the drill sergeants and other training instructors. It also scoured their records for a broader range of potentially problematic behaviors, officials said.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon's press secretary, noted the extra work done by the Army.

Hagel "was happy to learn that the Army widened the scope of their review and he is grateful for the work they have done to get a better grip on a very difficult issue and hold people accountable," Kirby said.

Hagel in May ordered the military to recertify all 25,000 people involved in programs designed to prevent and respond to sexual assault and to review the qualifications of some 19,000 recruiters.

He and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke at a Pentagon news conference one day after all of the military's highest uniformed and civilian leadership were summoned to the White House to discuss the sexual assault problem with President Barack Obama, who has expressed impatience with the Pentagon's failure to solve it.

"I am concerned that this department may be nearing a stage where the frequency of this crime - and the perception that there is tolerance of it - could very well undermine our ability to effectively carry out the mission, and to recruit and retain good people," Hagel wrote in his May order to the services.

The issue of sexual assaults has gripped the military in the last year after a series of high-profile cases from its academy students to generals. Outrage among lawmakers has produced new ideas for tightening the way sexual-assault cases are handled in the military justice system.

Meanwhile, the department reported at a congressional hearing Wednesday that preliminary figures show the number of reported sexual assaults across the military shot up by some 60 percent this year - to 5,400, or three times that of 2004. Defense officials have said the rise suggests victims are becoming more willing to come forward after a tumultuous year of scandals that shined a spotlight on the crimes and put pressure on the military to take a number of aggressive steps.

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Warrior February 27 2014 at 5:07 PM

I was in the Marine Corps from 1975-1995 when substance abuse reached its height in the Armed Forces. I used to find it ironic and moronic that the Marine Corps was coming down on drug and alcohol abuse, and at the same time assigned all kinds of people "in recovery" to be the counselors for the substance abuse programs, and they were also in charge of unit urinalysis testing. I dated a Woman Marine who admitted that she sometimes used recreational drugs. I told her she needed to stop that kind of thing right away. She said she wasn't worried about it. She revealed that she knew people that could "take care of a urinalysis test... ..." ... I always wondered if the same people she was talking about, would have done the same for a Woman Marine who wasn't hot looking like her, or typical male Marines. I remember having a company commander who was a Chinese national, that escaped from China, and was the first Chinese national to become a commissioned officer in the Marine Corps. He was a very short guy who could barely speak English. We never understood a thing he said. Our unit deployed to Norway. The people there are like huge giants. The Norwegian Army officers used to take him out and get him so drunk he couldn't even stand up. They used to carry him out of the vehicle and dump him in his tent, where he would remain passed out for hours...not that any of us minded. Throughout the rest of my 20 year career, I kept running into this embarassment of the Marine officer corps. When I retired, I know that he was at least a Lieutenant Colonel. He probably forced himself to remain sober for good reason; but, I will always feel he was one of the worst officers I had ever seen; a disgrace to the Marine Corps; and for any officer to make it to the rank he achieved, was soley because of politics and bureacratic good old boy networks wanting to hide the short comings of their endorsement and publicity around the "first Chinese National to become a commissioned officer in the Marine Corps.

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jhd622 February 27 2014 at 4:37 PM

Interesting! Seems guys are using this opportunity to slam the President - and ignoring the issues being "from sensitive jobs such as sexual assault counselors and recruiters after finding they had committed infractions such as sexual assault, child abuse and drunken driving," Seems nothing has changed in this country - women and children are still considered property to be dealt with accordingly! And so the "War On Women/Children" continues with all kinds of male support! Disgusting!

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2 replies to jhd622's comment
M February 27 2014 at 7:12 PM

Ummm, and where did it say *male support* in the article? Slow your sexist roll!

Pointing out the obvious, there was NO breakdown of the sex, or sexual orientation of the individuals removed. Have you seen or heard of the movie JADED(1998) where Carla Gugino plays the female victim of a female gang rape? (Naturally no one even believes the story when she reports it...).

One of my wife's friends quit going to her gym when she started workouts with free weights, and SEVERAL of the other women working with free weights began making sexual advances to her. Those advances wer not welcomed, or encouraged in any way. That woman had been acquantance raped, and was going to the gym to get strong enough to protect herself!

And your comments in light of all the FEMALE teachers having sex(ual relations) with underage students! Shame on your sexist views!

'Nuff said.

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tonermaxinc February 27 2014 at 7:30 PM

that was for jhd622 not M I agree with M

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Jim February 27 2014 at 4:33 PM

I retired from the Army in 1976. At that time I was an Army recruiter. Every time the Military has a person like Obama or Hagel in office, something like this happens. In the 60's they had project 500,00. The idea was to remove all Military peope that had scored low on the test's to join the Army. There were a lot of good people removed, and I mean people who had advanced up the ranks in promotions.
They got the noumbers down to 500,00. Shortly after they did that, we started t rebuild the Army because of Vietnam. So here we go again. Same OH Same OH.

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1 reply to Jim's comment
cazsue February 27 2014 at 4:51 PM

So you would keep rapers and child molesters in sensitive positions.

Obama said to breath in and out, you must be against that now!

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grgfld1 February 27 2014 at 4:22 PM

See if you didn't VOTE for Obama, you get domoted

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1 reply to grgfld1's comment
cazsue February 27 2014 at 4:52 PM

So you admit sexual predators vote R.

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smithbugrun February 27 2014 at 4:13 PM

I wonder how long before these soldiers have to go to retire. The military might be letting them go just before they have a minimum amount of time to get some type of retirement. Companies do this often. Not that our gov. would do something like that.

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usci1 February 27 2014 at 4:08 PM

The whole current approach to the misbehavior is like spitting into the wind! I would like to be invited to meet with POTUS Obama and all the top military brass at Camp David in Maryland to give them a practical common sense strategy that will work. Somebody at AOL kick this up to the Whitehouse please. Thanks

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frozenbull February 27 2014 at 3:57 PM

So it's the old fox watching the henhouse story . Great!

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g.diamondinc February 27 2014 at 3:54 PM

Let's take a look at what the soldiers do on what little free time they have....hmm...drink
Let's take a look at what the superiors do on what little free time they have...hmm...drink
If drinking and driving is the issue they say it is; why don't they do something to stop it?
Like offer shuttle service.
But, really, how does that make them a bad soldier; unless of course it was on duty...then they should be reprimanded.
I don't see how drinking is condoned in the Army and then ousted. Definitely not the same category as sexual offenses...

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1 reply to g.diamondinc's comment
Lisa February 27 2014 at 5:06 PM

Many Bases do have Free Shuttles and Safe Ride programs. If someone lives 30 miles from the Base and are drinking ten miles on the other side of their home, do YOU want to pay the taxes necessary to provide that sort of shuttle. Many service members choose not to use the services that exist because they are afraid it will impact their career, even when it won't.

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jimconnellret February 27 2014 at 3:49 PM

same should apply to those in congress

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1 reply to jimconnellret's comment
rhulbert February 27 2014 at 4:10 PM

Yea, they are only in charge of making the laws in our nation. No where near as important as an Army Recruiter.

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1 reply to rhulbert's comment
Allie February 28 2014 at 8:15 AM

Judges don't make the laws. Judges only interpret nd apply them. Elected officials make the laws. People like Ted Kennedy, who spends so much time drunk that his nose is permanently red. And Barry Obummer when he was a senator.

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Pig Fat February 27 2014 at 3:47 PM

EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD SUPPORT OUR MILITARY AS THEY ARE UNDER PAID AND SUFFER A MULTITUDE OF PROBLEMS DUE TO THEIR DESIRE TO SERVE THIS COUNTRY. PRESIDENT OBAMA AND ALL THE POLITICIANS IN WASHINGTON NEEDS A HISTORY LESSON. EVERYTIME THIS COUNTRY DECREASES ITS MILITARY AND ALLOWS OUR MILITARY TO DECREASE TO THE LEVEL IT WAS BEFORE WORLD WAR 11, WE ARE ALLOWING OUR ENEMIES TO STRIKE THIS COUNTRY. REMEMBER IT WAS PRESIDENT CLINTON WHO DID AWAY WITH "AIR DEFENSE COMMAND". WHEN 911 CAME, THAT FATEFUL DAY THERE WAS NO JET FIGHTERS ON ALERT TO PROTECT THE COAST OF AMERICA. IF WE DID HAVE THOSE RESOURCES ON THAT DAY IT MAY HAVE BEEN A DIFFERENT OUTCOME. AND REMEMBER WHAT THE JAPANES DID ON DECEMBER 7, 1942. I SINCERELY HOPE PRESIDENT OBAMA ENJOYS HIS VACATIONS IN THE FUTURE.

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