• April 20, 2014

Panetta cites concerns of sexual assault in the ranks

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Posted: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 12:00 pm

By Cheryl Pellerin

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will issue "very direct guidance" in the coming months about how the department should respond to sexual assaults within the ranks, the Pentagon press secretary told reporters Friday. George Little cited public commentary from Capitol Hill and elsewhere on the military's sexual assault problem, and he said Panetta finds it "totally unacceptable."

Panetta "had zero tolerance for this at the CIA when I worked with him there," Little said, "and he believes that it's no longer acceptable that we say we can just 'do better' on this. We need to take action."

Potential actions are being discussed, but no final decisions have been made, he said.

The defense secretary is "troubled by what he understands are sexual assault problems inside the military," Little said.

"In the coming months," he continued, "you will see him issue very direct guidance to the department on this very important issue and problem."

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