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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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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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bigfile4 February 27 2014 at 9:11 AM

Finally some hands on administration of government employees. I wish they could get rid of the entrenched 'employed' who sit around waiting for breaks from their breaks and wearing out chairs while we depend on their work to process our business with the government.

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hrs1203 February 27 2014 at 9:13 AM

Review the reviewers and their comanders. And dig deep.

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LA is Best February 27 2014 at 9:44 AM

NOW, If they could do the same thing at the DHS & TSA there would be thousands fired!

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sgtwal February 27 2014 at 9:50 AM

The Army has just announced they need to reduce the number of troops. After Vietnam they took anything that was less than perfect as a reason to block you from reenlistment.
This is a good reason to use for troop reduction. They overlooked some problems when they needed fighters, but now they are going back and ending careers to reduce the force.

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3 replies
JIM February 27 2014 at 9:57 AM

The army had so many people in their ranks because a lot of them condone that type of behavior. When I was working for the government there were many people who were reported for sexual harassment, the starting stone for the next step of abuse. When a lot of these people were reported over at Fort Hood, in El Paso, their commander told the person who was reporting them that they had better not go thru with this unless they wanted to hurt their career, because there had been no previous report on this person's clean record. Well of course there had not been a previous report, as they had brushed all the other ones under the carpet. So of course when they can get away with vagrant disregard to the rules and harass some people right out in the open, why not take it to the next level and assault them. They have harbored these people for years, and now they claim they are doing something about it. That is a joke.
And I have personally known and spoken to some of the sexual harassment victims, and was told the same story over and over, and it was a shame that so many of the army's colonels and higher condoned this type of behavior from company commanders and squad leaders. It was also letting all the other people down the ranks know that the command at the highest levels were protecting the people who were involved in this activity.

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3 replies
frankii0705 February 27 2014 at 10:16 AM

About time! I've worked for 30+ years with the US Army and this is over due. This is occurring because of the consideration to downsize our US military. I've worked with Officers that were sleeping on park benches because they were too intoxicated and the BN Commander just assist him on taking him home to sleep it off! Now if it was an enlisted Soldier, he would have been taken to the Military Police station for a breathalyzer exam; if over the limit he is drunk on duty. Do you think that any of the 20, 000 Soldiers were Officer's? NO! They just want the enlisted Soldiers, acting as if the Officers within our military are SAINT'S!!!

Let's talk about our physical conditioning program, most of the overweight Soldiers are OFFICER's!!! Does the chain of command do anything about that? HE- - NO!!! But once a Soldier is overweight, its time to place that Soldier on the overweight program; if no progress! It's time to process his/her discharge paper!!!

Why hasn't the military done the same for the Officer's: 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.

Does anyone really believe that the Officer's of those enlisted Soldiers violations were not aware of them? Come on, Officer's will cover-up any infraction; provided that it is not out of the "Cat's Hat!"

After 30+ years, I've seen government fraud and when reported, i was removed from that position!

I've reported physical security violations, because the installation would not upgrade the security; i was removed!

Reported to higher headquarters the over strength assignment of personnel in order to reassign NCO's within the installation, based on the Unit Status Report (USR), higher headquarters response was "I must have a hidden agenda!" Really, yes my agenda was to save the government the expense was paying NCO's that really had no job because we were over strength!

Never relieved from duty, just removed with a good NCOER; that was to keep me quiet!!!

While attending the USA Sergeants Major Academy Class of 51, my Battalion Commander tried to remove me from the course; i was selected by my peers; she was not successful :-). Graduate of USASMA Class of 51!!!

That same BN CDR was very hard on physical fitness program, but guess what, she was the ONLY one that was overweight and never participated in the PT program!!! You think anyone spoke or counseled her? NO

No one says anything when Officer's are in violation due to fear of reprisal!!!

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, let's do a proper screening of the Officer Corp! I would assure you that those Soldiers that were in violations, their superior were very well aware. What are your actions for those Officer's that failed to take action?

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3 replies
GrandmaLinda February 27 2014 at 10:21 AM

Lets do the same review for the senate and house! Oh wait, there wouldn't be anyone left. They are all crooks, liars and cheats and many felons among them!

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khsargent February 27 2014 at 10:27 AM

How about reviewing those who handle sensitive information?

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BroPower February 27 2014 at 8:34 AM

Take five minutes
Watch this outstanding House Judiciary Committee testimony from George Washington Law School professor Jonathan Turley (a noted liberal).
This administration is ignoring our Constitution..

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