Metro-East News

Roger That: Reports of sexual assault skyrocket at U.S. military academies

Reports of sexual assault at the three U.S. service academies jumped 55 percent in academic year 2014-2015 while sexual harassment complaints also rose, according to a new Defense Department report.

The Pentagon review of sexual harassment and assault reports at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York; the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland; and the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, found that 91 reports were filed during the school year ending May 2015, with more than half of those — 54 — filed as unrestricted, meaning they can be fully investigated by the military commands and law enforcement, according to the Military Times.

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Air Force drones will one day fire high-tech laser weapons to destroy high-value targets, conduct precision strikes and incinerate enemy locations from the sky, senior service officials told Scout Warrior.

The Air Force Research Laboratory is already working on a program to develop laser weapons for manned aircraft to arm cargo planes and fighter jets by the mid-2020s. When it comes to drones, there does not yet appear to be a timetable for when fired lasers would be operational weapons — however weapons technology of this kind is moving quickly.

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Military physicians are trying to decide whether an anti-malarial drug that’s widely given to U.S. military personal is responsible for serious brain injuries, according to CBS News.

The military has dispensed mefloquine for more than 20 years and says most soldiers have taken it without problems. But servicemembers have also been told that vivid dreams — even hallucinations — were normal reactions. Now, the FDA, in its strongest black box warning, says hallucinations are one of several side effects doctors should consider a red flag.

"Mefloquine causes toxic brain injury," said Dr. Remington Nevin, a former Army doctor, who's now with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000

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