Military.com is reporting that the Defense Department is zeroing in on a problem officials believe continues to keep military sexual assault victims from reporting the crime: real or perceived retaliation from their command or community.
A 2014 study by the RAND Corp. showed 62 percent of sexual assault victims reported some kind of retaliation after making their report, prompting Defense Secretary Ash Carter to order the development of a new strategy to study the problem.
“That was one of the metrics we didn't make progress on,” Nate Galbreath, senior executive adviser to the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response office, told Military.com.
A cluster of new policies will make it easier for sexual assault and harassment victims to obtain speedy transfer to new commands, allow victims to appeal to a senior officer when they believe their career is threatened by reprisal in their chain of command, and develop better retaliation response policies within each of the service branches.
Never miss a local story.
But the first step will require Pentagon officials to determine what their original data even means. The previous study didn't fully distinguish between real or perceived retaliation and did not ask victims to specify exactly how they had been retaliated against.
An Army Green Beret will stay in uniform after a fight to save his career, following controversy over the U.S. attitude toward child sexual abuse known as “boy play” in Afghanistan, according to the blog Popular Military.
The Army said late Wednesday that Sgt 1st Class Charles Martland will not be discharged. It’s a reversal from an earlier decision that raised ire in some corners, including U.S Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who introduced legislation on the soldier’s behalf.
Hunter, who led the fight to save Martland’s career, praised the Army’s move Thursday.
“This lets me know that there are people in the Army and the Defense Department and (acting Army Secretary) Patrick Murphy … they understand warfare. It’s not a game,” Hunter said.
The issue is a 2011 altercation Martland and a Green Beret officer had with an Afghan police commander.
The two U.S. soldiers beat up the Afghan commander after a boy’s mother reportedly complained to them that the man chained the boy to his bed as a sex slave.
A redacted copy of an investigation into the U.S. airstrike that killed 42 people at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in northern Afghanistan will be released Friday, according to media reports, according to Military.com.
No one involved in the strike on the hospital last October is expected to be court-martialed, but more than a dozen Americans will receive letters of reprimand, according to the Los Angeles Times. The 16 U.S. servicemembers found at fault include a two-star general and Air Force and Army special forces personnel, the Times reported, citing U.S. officials who discussed the internal investigation on condition of anonymity.
A letter of reprimand is an administrative punishment that indicates misbehavior and can block promotions or have career-ending consequences. It does not involve criminal charges.
Doctors Without Borders, which goes by its French initials MSF, has called the attack on the hospital a war crime and has repeatedly called for an independent inquiry.
Islamic State may have been permanently destabilized after being "financially weakened" by strikes on its oil fields and cash storage sites, say US military commanders, according to the British publication The Week.
Major General Peter Gersten, the deputy US commander for operations and intelligence, said up to $800 million in cash has been destroyed by bombing.
Added to that, the militant group's finances have been “badly hit by battlefield reverses” in which it has lost nearly a quarter of the territory it had seized in Syria and Iraq, reports the Daily Telegraph.
The UK's senior civil servant in charge of undermining Islamic State's finances, Air Vice-Marshal Edward Stringer, said that as cash reserves have become depleted, the group has turned to a more “arbitrary system of taxation and fines,” along with extortion and “gangsterism.”
This has had a knock-on effect, with a 90 per cent jump in defections and a drop in new arrivals, reports the BBC.
“We're seeing a fracture in their morale, we're seeing their inability to pay, we're seeing the inability to fight, we're watching them try to leave Daesh (the Islamic State) in every way," said Gersten.