Sexual misconduct in the military

This is just a preliminary version of a discussion of
a problem which arises from
two recent changes to the military force structure:
The introduction of women in more and more of the military,
and the politically pushed introduction of open homosexuals
into the military.
Both of these actions will introduce a new problem for the military:
controlling, limiting, and managing
the inevitable development of occasions of sexual misconduct within the ranks.

I have discussed this problem at some length in two earlier posts,
dedicated separately to the female-caused and homosexual-caused aspects.
When I have more time,
I will write a unified description of the situation here.
But in the meantime (and what served as the immediate impetus for this post)
an interesting occurrence has just been reported in
the quasi-military situation of the CIA's efforts in Afghanistan,
as discussed in the following article.

Federal contractors must navigate workplace mediation without roadmap
By Dana Hedgpeth
Washington Post, 2010-10-25

[In the following final half of the story, the emphasis is added.]


One case that involves the EEOC’s ruling of a “joint employer”
goes beyond the typical office cubicle in Washington’s suburbs
to a war zone.
It involves a 35-year-old Northern Virginia man
who worked as an intelligence analyst for CACI International of Arlington
under a contract it had with the Central Intelligence Agency
to do work in Afghanistan.

When contacted, the man,
who was given an alias of Nicolas R. Brewster by the CIA
because of his secretive work,
didn’t want to comment,
citing an agreement he signed with the government
to not talk about his work.
The CIA also wouldn’t comment on his case, saying
it “doesn’t as a rule comment on personnel matters.”
CACI did not respond to repeated requests for a comment.
The following account is based on
documents and filings with the CIA and the EEOC
obtained by The Washington Post.

Brewster alleges that
while in Afghanistan in the fall of 2009
he was sexually harassed by a female CIA supervisor.

After he filed a complaint with the agency,
it dismissed his complaint on the grounds that
he was not a CIA employee but a contractor.
That meant he didn’t come under the same complaint process
as a federal employee of the agency.

Brewster took his case to the EEOC,
arguing that while he may technically have been a contractor on paper,
he was, for all intents and purposes,
working not only for CACI but also for the CIA.
Before he went to Afghanistan, the CIA trained Brewster on
how to avoid getting killed,
what to do if he got kidnapped,
how to shoot in self-defense, and
how to use its classified databases and some of its most sophisticated equipment.

“Because the CIA controlled the manner and means of [Brewster’s] employment,
the CIA must be deemed [as his] joint employer,”
according to Brewster’s filing to the EEOC.
The EEOC agreed and ruled recently in his favor,
reversing the CIA’s decision.
It said the CIA “exercised sufficient control” over Brewster’s position
to qualify him as a joint employer.

The CIA, which has “a zero-tolerance policy on harassment,”
according to spokesperson Marie E. Harf,
has until mid-January to conduct its investigation of his harassment claim.

[Two aspects of this case are unusual:
First, that a male was allegedly harassed by a female supervisor.
Second, the bureaucratic limbo of this individual’s status,
somewhere between the CIA and CACI.

But leaving those two issues aside, this case is absolutely typical of
what will arise when and if
both women and homosexuals are added to the ranks of the force structure.
Of course, the civilian world has developed protocols and recourses
to minimize and, perhaps, rectify such problems as they arise.
The problem is that all such protocols and recourses represent a diminution in
the long-standing military superior/subordinate relationship.
In other words, they will directly and ineluctably impede
the command-and-control relation that is so important in the military.

Further, when charges of harassment arise and are attempted to be resolved,
there will inevitably be both false positives and false negatives.
some harassers will get away with it,
while in other cases innocent supervisors will be punished.
In either case, the situation will only make
the service members familiar with the situation
bitter and cynical about
the impossibility of totally correct justice in all such matters.
This bitterness and cynicism will be a poison to morale of the service,
and harm the effectiveness of the military.

What is a crime is that these issues, which I have just raised,
are totally ignored by the media in its reporting on
the push of the PC for introducing “equality” into the military.]

Miscellaneous Articles

Here are some more articles exemplifying this topic:

Air Force investigates growing sex-abuse scandal
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post, 2012-06-29

[Here is the conclusion of the article:]

“For every instructor that assaults a recruit,
there are usually dozens of others who have known about the problem,”
said Anu Bhagwati, a former Marine officer
and executive director of the Service Women’s Action Network.

About 22 percent of the Air Force’s recruits are women,
but only about 11 percent of its training instructors are female.

Bhagwati called boot camp “a target-rich environment” for sexual abuse
because instructors wield total authority over raw recruits.

“It’s the kind of environment where you’re being yelled at 24-7,
where you’re terrified of everybody around you,” she said.
“How are you supposed to ask for help
if you’re the victim of sexual assault?”

When the strains of war lead to infidelity
[Article also available here.]
By Rebecca Sinclair
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2012-11-16

Rebecca Sinclair is married to Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair,
a former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan,
who is being tried at Fort Bragg, N.C., on charges
including adultery and sexual misconduct.

[The emphasis in what follows has been added
by the author of the current blog.]

Like most Americans, I’ve been unable to escape the current news cycle
regarding several high-ranking military generals entangled in sex scandals.
Unlike most Americans, however, for me the topic is personal.
My husband, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair, is one of the officers.

Spectators will try to make this scandal about many things:
the arrogance of powerful men;
conniving mistresses;
the silent epidemic of sexual assault in the armed services.
But these explanations obscure an underlying problem:
the devastating influence of an open-ended war —
now in its 11th year —
on the families of U.S. service members.

Let me first address the elephant in the room.
My husband had an affair.
He violated our marriage vows and hurt me tremendously.
Jeff and I are working on our marriage, but that’s our business.

Jeff also needs to answer to the Army.
That is his business, not mine, and he accepts that.
I believe in and support him as much as ever.

I wish I could say that my husband was the only officer or soldier
who has been unfaithful.
Since 2001, the stress of war has led many service members
to engage in tremendously self-destructive behavior.
The officer corps is plagued by leaders abandoning their families
and forging new beginnings with other men and women.

And many wives know about their husbands’ infidelity but stay silent.

For military wives, the options are bad and worse.
Stay with an unfaithful husband and keep your family intact;
or lose your husband, your family and the financial security
that comes with a military salary, pension, health care and housing.
Because we move so often, spouses lose years of career advancement.
Some of us spend every other year as single parents.
We are vulnerable emotionally and financially.
Many stay silent out of necessity, not natural passivity.

In many ways, ours is a typical military story.
Jeff and I married 27 years ago.
While he rose through the officer corps,
I earned my bachelor’s and master’s degrees
and taught at community colleges in the places where we were stationed.
We later had children.

Since 2001, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have destabilized our life.
We have moved six times in 11 years.
On average, our kids change schools every two years.
Between five deployments, site surveys and training operations,
Jeff has spent more than six of the past 10 years away from his family.

None of this is meant to excuse infidelity.
I expected more of Jeff, and I think he expected more of himself.
But we’re fooling ourselves if we don’t recognize the larger reality.
My friends who are married to other combat leaders
have been my anchor during this crisis.
We understand that our soldiers may come home disfigured or injured
in such a way that we will become lifelong caregivers.
We also understand that they may not come home at all,
and if blessed with a reunion,
they may carry emotional baggage few could understand.
My friends know that it could have been their heartbreak as much as mine.
This is the only time in U.S. history
that our nation has fought a decade-long war with a volunteer Army.
Doing so has consequences.
Nothing good can come of families being chronically separated
for a decade or more.

[The next two paragraphs of Mrs. Sinclair's article are specific to the charges against her husband.]

Jeff’s case has its own complications.
He was involved with a woman who confessed to a superior officer.
As a servicewoman, she stood to be charged with criminal conduct
under the military code of justice.
She alleged sexual assault, and no such allegation should ever go unanswered.
We are confident that the charges will be dropped.
Hundreds of text messages and journal entries came to light in pretrial hearings last week
that establish the affair was consensual.
The woman in question admitted under oath
that she never intended to have Jeff charged,
and Jeff has passed a polygraph test.
Ironically, if Jeff had decided to leave his family he would be in the clear.

There are many accusations against Jeff,
some of which have already fallen apart.
Jeff has been charged with possessing alcohol in a combat zone;
a visiting dignitary gave him a bottle of Scotch
that remained unopened on a bookshelf.
His personal computer was used to access pornography;
time stamps and Army records show that he was out of the country or city
when most of the files were downloaded.
We expect those charges, too, to be dismissed.

But the damage has been done.
It will take years for Jeff to shed the false image of a hard-drinking, porn-dependent aggressor.

The other generals will also struggle to rehabilitate
reputations they spent decades building.
All of these men are human beings, with strengths and fallibilities,
and they have families who are under real strain.
How we address this strain will say much about what kind of country we are;
it will also determine how stable and strong our military is.

Andrea Mitchell MSNBC video of an interview with Mrs. Jeffrey Sinclair


No sex? Permission to speak freely, Sir.

By Laura Cannon
Washington Post Sunday Outlook, 2012-11-25

Laura Cannon, a 2001 West Point graduate, is writing a memoir on her military service titled “War Virgin.” She blogs at WarVirgin.com.

West Pointers are human beings,
even those with names such as David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell.
I think I have the standing to make this declaration,
because I’m a fellow graduate.
West Point is long on molding military officers,
but a bit short on humanity.
Its mission statement stresses the intent to commit every graduate
to a career of professional excellence and service,
embodying the values of “duty, honor and country.”
How does West Point do that?

Here’s how: Rules!
Hundreds upon hundreds of rules
that govern every facet of human conduct imaginable, including my favorite:
no sex in the barracks.

Yes, to become a leader of character and serve my country well,
it is imperative that I not have sex in my college bedroom.

Does West Point succeed in stifling one of the most basic of human urges?
What about cadet couples who are in love
and will one day get married and have families?
Does the threat of punishment —
namely having to spend a weekend dressed in full parade regalia,
marching with a heavy rifle, back-and-forth in a confined area —
deter them?

Not so much.

Whether it’s because love (or lust) conquers all,
or because ambitious Type-A’s stop at nothing in the face of adversity,
cadets soon become experts at evading the no-sex rule.
West Point officially designates “Flirtation Walk”
as the one area where cadets can enjoy romance.
But who, with the exception of the die-hard infantry types
who will go on to Ranger school,
wants to trek outside, far from the cadet barracks, to do their “flirting”?
(Plus, for most of the year, it’s freezing outside in upstate New York.)

So cadets engage one another in the parking lot,
behind Battle Monument and in sports equipment rooms, among other places.
Many grow tired of navigating these complicated logistics,
and succumb to the comfy confines of their bedrooms,
breaking myriad rules in the process.

Now throw us into a war zone, and things get really wild.

General Order No. 1 prohibits sex (and alcohol consumption)
on an Army deployment.
Typical deployments last approximately one year,
so if West Point graduates follow the academy’s rules,
then they abstain for all four of their college years,
plus the year-long deployment.
Five years of abstinence is enough to make anyone crazy.

I was a part of the Iraq invasion in 2003.
At the time, I was a naive, 24-year-old lieutenant and still a virgin
(because of my former Jesus obsession and aversion to cadet marching).
I assumed General Order No. 1 would have no impact on my life. I was wrong.

I had no idea that a combat zone would be such a sexually charged environment.
Blame it on amped-up testosterone pouring out of aggressive, athletic men.
Or blame it on combat stripping even the strongest of men and women
down to their core, raw emotions.
Combine that with forming special bonds
with comrades who promise to do whatever it takes
to ensure your safe return home,
including sacrificing their life for yours.
What do you think happens?

Let me tell you, covert combat sex
(or in my case, hard-core making out, because I was too scared to go “All-In”)
ranks high on the list of life’s thrills.
I’m a comfortable civilian now,
and I know it’s impossible to inject that intense passion back into my life.
But I reflect on it almost every day.
There’s nothing that compares to making love at war.

What would I do if I were in charge?
I’d abolish General Order No. 1.
Keep the rules that protect soldiers from sexual harassment.
But allow deployed officers and troops to have sex while at war.
West Point should come to its senses as well.

West Pointers and other military service members endure tremendous sacrifices.
We appreciate the adoration and respect we receive.
In that same spirit, I ask the public to accept and forgive our weaknesses.
It’s okay to be disappointed, but please don’t be misled.
Beneath the heavy combat gear and impressive uniform, we’re human,
just like you.


[By the way, reprinting of this op-ed does not mean
endorsement of her recommendation.
On the contrary, I think her anecdotes only point out the need
to keep women and homosexuals away from combat situations.
Much mischief will be caused by the contamination of the command relation
by the inevitable sexual and romantic feelings that will arise in
mixed gender and homosexual-admitting units.

How can a commander, for example, treat all his troops as equal
when he (or she) is sexually attracted to some but not to others?
Yet that has always been a bedrock principle of the military relation,
and something owed by the commander to his men.
And if he (or she) does have sexual attractions to some and not to others,
this will inevitably be noticed by the troops.
And even if he (or she) represses those feelings,
just the possibility of such feelings
will always cast a shadow of doubt on the commanders motives.
Bad, bad, bad for unit coherence.]

Victims of sex assaults in military are mostly men
Women are more likely to speak up
by Rowan Scarborough
Washington Times, 2013-05-20

More military men than women are sexually abused in the ranks each year, a Pentagon survey shows, highlighting the underreporting of male-on-male assaults.

When the Defense Department released the results of its anonymous sexual abuse survey this month and concluded that 26,000 service members were victims in fiscal 2012, which ended Sept. 30, an automatic assumption was that most were women. But roughly 14,000 of the victims were male and 12,000 female, according to a scientific survey sample produced by the Pentagon.

The statistics show that, as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel begins a campaign to stamp out "unwanted sexual contact," there are two sets of victims that must be addressed.

"It appears that the DOD has serious problems with male-on-male sexual assaults that men are not reporting and the Pentagon doesn't want to talk about," Elaine Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness. She noted that only 2 percent of assailants are women.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said the Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Office is tackling the entire problem.

The assault office "recognizes the challenges male survivors face and has reached out to organizations supporting male survivors for assistance and information to help inform our way ahead," Ms. Smith said. "A focus of our prevention efforts over the next several months is specifically geared toward male survivors and will include why male survivors report at much lower rates than female survivors, and determining the unique support and assistance male survivors need."

She said the department has included information on male victims on the "DOD Safe Helpline," which connects them to trained professionals.

"Together, everyone in this department at every level of command will continue to work together every day to establish an environment of dignity and respect, where sexual assault is not tolerated, condoned or ignored, where there is clear accountability placed on all leaders at every level," Ms. Smith said.

The Pentagon's 1,400-page annual report came with two basic sets of data: official reports of sex crimes and a scientific survey sample of the 1.4 million active force from which the department extrapolated the number of abuses, regardless of whether they were officially reported.

Data showed 2,949 reports of abuse against a service member last year compared with 1,275 in 2004. The vast majority of victims (88 percent) were female — a statistic that tells the Pentagon that male victims (12 percent) do not come forward at the same rate.

Subjects of investigations are almost always men (90 percent), compared with women (2 percent) — a statistic indicating that male victims are assaulted by other men.

The survey determined that 26,000 service members were victims of sexual assault last year, based on the 6.1 percent of female and 1.2 percent of male respondents who claimed to have suffered such abuse. With an active-duty force of 200,000 women and 1.2 million men, that amounts to roughly 12,000 female victims and 14,000 male victims.

"The [Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Office] continues to focus its attention on women who experience abuse but don't report it, overlooking the far greater numbers of men who, according to the survey, are experiencing abuse but not reporting it," said Mrs. Donnelly, who heads the Center for Military Readiness.

"If the Pentagon considers the survey results a credible reflection of hidden reality, they must also concede that there are more men than women who are being sexually assaulted," she said.

Mrs. Donnelly fought President Obama's decision to lift the ban on open gays in the ranks, which took effect in September 2011. She also opposes plans to open direct ground combat jobs to women, saying it will import the sexual abuse problem into the combat ranks.

The annual report shows that of assaults on women, 67 percent happened on base, 19 percent in a war zone and 20 percent on a ship or a field exercise.

For male-on-male assaults, 73 percent happened on base and 26 percent in a combat zone.

The Pentagon's definition of unwanted sexual contact ranges from rape to "abusive sexual contact" and "involves intentional sexual contact that was against a person's will or occurred when the person did not or could not consent. The term describes completed and attempted oral, anal and vaginal penetration with any body part or object, and the unwanted touching of genitalia and other sexually related areas of the body."

In light of the annual report that shows an increase in unwanted sexual contact, Mr. Hagel and his senior officers and enlisted personnel met with Mr. Obama last week to discuss what the defense secretary called "this huge problem."

"The president was very constructive," Mr. Hagel told reporters Friday. "He was very clear. There wasn't anybody in that room who wasn't disappointed and embarrassed and didn't recognize that we've in many ways failed. But we all have committed to turn this around, and we're going to fix the problem. As the president said in his comments after that meeting, there's no silver bullet. This is going to take all of us."

Aaron Belkin, who heads The Palm Center, which studies gays and lesbians in the military, said "very few" male-on-male perpetrators are gay, saying such incidents are "somewhat similar to prison rape."

"It is important to try as hard as possible to eliminate sexual assaults from the military, but I don't think that procedural reforms will do much to lower the incidence rate unless military culture changes dramatically," said Mr. Belkin, whose 2012 book "Bring Me Men," included a case study on male-on-male rape in the military.

DONNELLY: The generals flunk the birds ‘n’ bees test
by Elaine Donnelly
Washington Times, 2013-05-22

Extending sexual misconduct to combat units

The latest report by the Defense Department's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office documents the dysfunctional consequences of social experiments with human sexuality in our military over many years. What's worse, the department's plans will extend problems of sexual assault and misconduct into the combat arms.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office's 2013 report analyzing 2012 data and surveys of active-duty personnel reveals alarming trends. From 2004 to 2012, sexual assaults of military personnel soared by 130 percent, from 1,275 to 2,949. Numbers of all Defense Department reports nearly doubled, from 1,700 to 3,374. In addition, 17 percent of sexual assault allegations were unfounded, up from 13 percent — a more than 30 percent increase since 2009.

This is not the first report card with failing grades on sexual misconduct. According to the 2012 Army Gold Book report, violent attacks in the Army nearly doubled from 663 in 2006 to 1,313 in 2011, and sex crimes accelerated at an average rate of 14.6 percent per year.

How can this be? Mandatory sensitivity-training programs have consumed untold man-hours, and the military has more sexual-assault response coordinators (25,000) than it does recruiters (19,000). Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, the Air Force's highest-ranking sexual-assault response coordinator, who was arrested recently and accused of groping a woman after hours in Arlington, reportedly earned $132,000 per year.

When sexual-assault numbers increase, sexual-assault prevention professionals express satisfaction because more complainants are coming forward. If this is "success," what does failure look like? Indicators appear in Volume II of the sexual-assault report, which sets forth "virtual" findings extrapolated from the Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of active-duty members.

Of the nearly 26,000 survey respondents, 6.1 percent of women and 1.2 percent of men said they had experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact in the past year — far more than actual complaints filed. According to The New York Times, 12,100 of the 203,000 uniformed women and 13,900 of 1.2 million men in 2012 said they had experienced unwanted sexual contact.

If these estimates are used to justify more funding for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office programs, they also should call into question Pentagon claims that repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy implemented in 1993 has been a complete "success." Actual numbers show that in the past two years, military men filed more than 12 percent of sexual-assault complaints.

Charges against all sex offenders, if true, warrant swift punishment. However, Pentagon policymakers also should be held accountable for years of social experiments testing flawed theories of a "new gender order" that exists nowhere in the world. Elitist policymakers keep pretending that human sexuality does not matter, and that men and women are interchangeable in all roles. Instead of re-evaluating the consequences of social experiments testing these theories, the administration is pushing ahead with incremental plans that will extend sexual-misconduct problems into Marine and Army infantry, armor, artillery, Special Forces battalions and Navy SEALs.

Since there is no valid military reason to do this (for decades, military women have been promoted at rates equal to or faster than men), advocates of women in combat have contrived a false argument that was voiced by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Women would get more respect and experience fewer assaults, said Gen. Dempsey, if they serve in the combat arms.

This meme is a throwback to arguments made in 1991 by then-Rep. Patricia Schroeder, Colorado Democrat. When male and female aviators embarrassed the Navy by partying wildly at the Las Vegas Tailhook convention, the feminist Mrs. Schroeder maintained that if female pilots entered tactical aviation, respect for women would increase and sexual assaults would decrease.

More than 20 years later, experience has discredited the Schroeder theory. Respect for military women is higher than ever, but rates of sexual assault and other forms of misconduct have increased with no end in sight.

What to do? First, do no harm. Congress should exercise its constitutional authority to intervene before the administration imposes irreversible policies that weaken morale and overall readiness. Congress should define and codify women's "direct ground combat" exemption with updated legal language that also recognizes contingent or incident-related combat while serving "in harm's way" in a war zone.

Responsible congressional action laying down a baseline of sound assignment policies would remove the need to impose "gender-neutral" (actually, gender-normed) standards on tough training for the infantry and special-operations forces. This is the only way to preserve women's exemption from Selective Service registration for any draft, while deterring the extension of sex problems into the combat arms.

Some observers want to channel emotion about sexual assaults to radically change the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Caution is advised because the military protects individual rights, but must be governed by different rules. Command authority is essential to the code, which works best when rights of due process are scrupulously protected for both the accuser and the accused.

Congress should show true respect for women by taking these issues seriously and intervening before the Defense Department makes them worse. The answer to a perceived "war on women" is not to treat women like men in land combat or to send our daughters and granddaughters to fight our nation's wars.

Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, was a member of the 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces.

Testimony in Naval Academy rape case continues
by Dana Hedgpeth
Washington Post, 2013-09-03


In an illustration of the complicated web of relationships at the party and in the courtroom,
Ashlyn Soellner, a midshipman who was a witness for the defense,
testified that her relationship with one of the defendants
had gone from doing homework together to a sexual nature.
Another midshipman, Ryan Williams,
said he had had a previous relationship with the accuser.

He testified that the accuser told him,
“I’m not proud of what I did,”
referring to the night of the party.

Another witness — Christa Kamon, a midshipman who is a friend of the accuser —
testified that the accuser called her the day after the party
and asked, “Where am I, and what happened?”

But one of the accuser’s best friends — midshipman Kenyon Williams —
testified that the day after the party,
the accuser appeared aware of what had happened.
“Last night was crazy,” Williams recounted the accuser saying.
He said the woman also told him,
“What I did last night, I did it and I wanted to do it.”

Kenyon Williams testified that the accuser drank alcohol the night of the party
and that although he went with her and others to the party,
he later left without her.
Lawyers for the defendants asked him in cross examination
whether he recalled telling investigators that
the accuser had told him the night after the party
that she “did it” and “wanted to do it.”

“I do not remember her exactly saying that,” he said Monday on the stand.


Hearing in Naval Academy rape case concludes
by Annys Shin
Washington Post, 2013-09-04

In Navy rape case, defense lawyers go wild
By Ruth Marcus
Washington Post, 2013-09-06

Rape hearing offers an unflattering glimpse of Naval Academy culture
by Annys Shin
Washington Post, 2013-09-08

[It should be noted that the most serious allegations in this article are only against members of the football team and their friends,
not the academy as a whole.
The only accusation against the academy at large is that midshipmen perform more binge drinking than most college students.]


Army’s top sex assault prosecutor suspended after assault allegation
By Chris Carroll and John Vandiver
Stars and Stripes, 2014-03-06

WASHINGTON — The top Army prosecutor for sexual assault cases has been suspended after a lawyer who worked for him recently reported he’d groped her and tried to kiss her at a sexual-assault legal conference more than two years ago.

Two separate sources with knowledge of the situation told Stars and Stripes that the Army is investigating the allegations levied against Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse, who supervised the Army’s nearly two dozen special victim prosecutors — who are in charge of prosecuting sexual assault, domestic abuse and crimes against children.

Attempts to reach Morse via phone and email for comment have thus far been unsuccessful.

Morse was removed from his job when the allegations came to light, one source said. To date, no charges have been filed in the case.

The suspension comes at a time the military is dealing with rising reports of sexual assault.

Morse, chief of the Trial Counsel Assistance Program at Fort Belvoir, Va., was responsible for Army prosecutorial training and assistance worldwide. He also was lead prosecutor in the case against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who pleaded guilty to the mass murder of 16 Afghan civilians in 2012.

Sources told Stars and Stripes that the Army lawyer alleged that Morse attempted to kiss and grope her against her will. The alleged assault reportedly took place in a hotel room at a 2011 sexual assault legal conference attended by special victims prosecutors in Alexandria, Va., before he was appointed as chief of the Trial Counsel Assistance Program.

The lawyer reported the incident in mid-February, and Morse was suspended shortly thereafter, according to one source.

An Army official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter confirmed an investigation was underway.

“We can confirm that this matter is currently under investigation and that the individual in question has been suspended from duties pending the outcome of the investigation,” the official said. “Given that this is still an open case, we are precluded from providing any additional information at this point.”


Don't punish the spouses
by Kris Johnson
The Fayetteville Observer, 2014-03-23


My ex-husband, Col./Lt. Col. (Ret.) James H. Johnson III, is one of the lawbreaking soldiers who captured national attention with his crimes. Like Rebecca Sinclair, I experienced not only the public agony of betrayal but also the stress created by an uncertain future.

My situation introduced me to the cracks in our system - and I am far from alone. These cracks are where spouses like Rebecca Sinclair and Kari Bales, wife of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who pleaded guilty to killing a group of Afghan civilians, also find themselves, along with other spouses whose names will never make the news.

Though each of our situations is different, we have in common that none of us committed any crime. We served our Army honorably as family members, and yet we find ourselves heartbroken and humiliated, with nothing to show for our many years of service to the nation.


For many months last year, I lobbied members of Congress and pushed for a change in how the Department of Defense views the spouses of wrongdoing service members.

As a result, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act includes funding to study
awarding transitional benefits to the spouses of service members
who are convicted of crimes under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice
and then discharged from the military.

Presently, a similar policy is already in place for the spouses of service members who are convicted of domestic violence. The study is scheduled to be finished in May.

Not providing protection for military spouses weakens the UCMJ and the United States military as a whole. There is a disincentive for both a spouse and other service members to speak up and report criminal activity out of fear that the innocent spouse will be inadvertently punished. A change in this law will not prevent high-ranking officers, like my ex-husband, Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair and other service members from making inexcusable decisions, but it will encourage the whistle blowers to speak up much sooner.


Pentagon sees surge in reports of sexual assault among service members
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post, 2014-05-01

The number of U.S. service members who reported being sexually assaulted surged by 50 percent last year, the Pentagon announced Thursday, the latest sign of how the military has struggled to cope with sex crimes in the ranks.

Military officials said they didn’t know whether the sharp increase meant that more crimes were actually committed, but they added that the evidence suggested that victims were simply more willing to come forward. The Pentagon has been conducting a high-profile campaign to prevent sexual assault and punish offenders amid concerns that it neglected the problem for years.



Aaron Allmon case makes Minot Air Force Base ground zero in military’s new gender wars
Combat photographer accused of making passes at women faces harsher punishment than Bergdahl
by Rowan Scarborough
Washington Times, 2015-11-05

He is an award-winning combat photographer who stands accused of trying to pick up women in the public affairs office at MinotAir Force Base in North Dakota, and for that prosecutors wanted to put him in prison for 130 years.

The prosecutorial zeal was so great that an Air Force officer appointed to investigate the case said the piled-up charges were combined to “artificially exaggerate the criminality of the accused,” who often was simply “socially maladroit and crass.”

This is a glimpse into the new U.S. Armed Forces and its gender wars. It is a slice of military life stemming from the Pentagon’s order in 2013 to erase all sexual harassment and, to enforce it, staff the ranks with an advocacy bureaucracy to empower victims and make sure complaints are filed.

The accused is Tech. Sgt. Aaron D. Allmon II. The 39-year-old arrived at Minot, a nuclear arsenal on the northern edge of the continental United States, to teach others as one of the Air Force’s best at capturing war in photographs.

What he witnessed in Iraq and Afghanistan stalked him all the way to North Dakota, along with diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol abuse. He carries prescription drugs to fight off nightmares and excruciating back pain. His supporters say the stigma of being an accused sexual harasser is so deep-seated that Minot top brass isolated him and deliberately tried to block medical care.

Sgt. Allmon, who denies wrongdoing, goes on trial Monday. The setting is a general court-martial, the military’s most severe, a felony arena. He is charged with unwanted sexual contact with four women: three Air Force and one civilian. The case does not involve rape or what the public might consider overt sexual assault or what could be defined as fondling.

A Washington Times examination shows that, over a 14-month span, the women’s accusations, in total, amount to three kisses and six touches, plus a series of reported inappropriate comments of a sexual nature. If the married Sgt. Allmon did what the women said, he was tastelessly hitting on them.

Sgt. Allmon’s sister, Lisa A. Roper, does not believe the women. The business executive in San Antonio, Texas, is her brother’s fiercest defender. She estimates she will spend $200,000 on his legal defense, which includes a former sheriff’s deputy as investigator, a civilian lawyer and a former Army judge advocate who took the case pro bono. Sgt. Allmon is also represented by an Air Force judge advocate.

“I want you to understand how women can destroy a man,” said Ms. Roper. “It was out and out vindictiveness set up to destroy a man who didn’t do what they wanted. A group of young women who are brand new in the military and because they didn’t get their way they set out to destroy a man of 19 years in the Air Force.”

Maj. Jamie Humphries, a Minot public affairs officer, said the Air Force does not tolerate any form of sexual harassment.

“Sexual harassment or assault of any kind in our service is unacceptable and simply not tolerated,” he said. “I’ve never been in a USAF unit stateside or deployed where it was accepted. Does it happen? Sure. Is it unacceptable? Absolutely. When parents/guardians send their loved ones off to Basic Military Training, they expect guys like me will care for them, guide them and mentor them to the best of my ability. That’s my No. 1 job, and the officers I know take that responsibility very seriously.”

The Times’ examination produced a picture of the Minot public affairs office that was at times disorganized and needed discipline.

The Times viewed a homemade video of staff members moving furniture in December last year. The “F” word was thrown around freely. Faces were made into the camera. A man referred to a female service member as a “donkey.” An enlisted man made fun of Sgt. Allmon’s ailments by shaking a bottle of pills like a rattle.

‘Artificially exaggerate the criminality’

As Sgt. Allmon was entering his second year at Minot in May 2013, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel declared war on sexual abuse in the ranks. He elevated the offense as a threat to national security. He put every command on notice that his goal was to eliminate the offense. The gender wars, if not starting that day, were entering an escalation.

“Sexual assault is a despicable crime and one of the most serious challenges facing this department,” Mr. Hagel told reporters. “It’s a threat to the safety and the welfare of our people and the health, reputation and trust of this institution. 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.”

Next, he warned the accused.

“We need cultural change where every service member is treated with dignity and respect, where all allegations of inappropriate behavior are treated with seriousness, where victims’ privacy is protected, where bystanders are motivated to intervene, and where offenders know that they will be held accountable by strong and effective systems of justice,” he said.

Defense attorneys said at the time that remarks such as Mr. Hagel’s, and similar statements from commanders, would make it difficult to impanel military jurors who did not think it their mission to convict people.

Sgt. Allmon is now facing that military justice system.

The Times investigated the Allmon case not to assess guilt or innocence. The trial promises to be a series of “he said, she said.” (Sgt. Allmon denies saying many of the things attributed to him.) The Times wanted to examine one major battle, in a North Dakota courtroom, in the broader global war Mr. Hagel announced more than two years ago.

What strikes Sgt. Allmon’s supporters from the start is the fervor with which Air Force Office of Special Investigations and prosecutors went after him.

When the Air Force convened a pretrial hearing, known as an Article 32, in December, the government had stacked so many charges against the enlisted man that, if convicted, he faced over a century in prison.

“I cannot fathom how this got to the level this got to,” Ms. Roper said.

On Sgt. Allmon’s legal team is Jeffrey Addicott, a former Army judge advocate who is now a law professor at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. The lead civilian defender is Virginia Hermosa, who practices law in Austin and has served as a prosecutor for the Texas attorney general.

Mr. Addicott is also director of the school’s Center for Terrorism Law from which he goes to bat for service members, pro bono, who he believes are treated unfairly by the military justice system.

In the Allmon case, he expresses astonishment that the Air Force is trying him in a felony court instead of seeking other administrative or lesser judicial options. As a comparison, he notes that the hearing officer in the case of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who is charged with the serious offense of desertion for abandoning his buddies on the battlefield, recommended a special court-martial, the lowest level, for misdemeanors.

“The full weight of the military chain of command has come down on Aaron because the chain of command has abandoned justice and elected expediency,” Mr. Addicott said.

“Because of the hypersensitivity associated with real sexual assault cases, the Air Force in particular has overreacted against Aaron in a manner that is absolutely an injustice but is also degrading the esprit de corps of unit cohesion all across the military. Even assuming all the charges are true, which they are not, this conduct as charged would warrant nonjudicial punishment, not the highest level of action at a general court-martial where Aaron could lose all his retirement benefits and go to jail.”

Mr. Addicott’s view has an ally, of sorts, in Lt. Col. Brendon K. Tukey, the investigative officer who presided over the Article 32 pretrial hearing where the four accusers testified. Sgt. Allmon did not testify, nor did he put up a defense.

Col. Tukey is a veteran of the military’s gender wars. He was the hearing officer in 2014 for a sexual assault case at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The woman testified that she was asleep in the male’s cadet’s room and woke up to find him raping her.

“If there was some other disposition short of court-martial, could you support it?” Col. Tukey asked the woman, according to The Gazette newspaper.

“Sure,” she said.

The Air Force declined to say what action Col. Tukey recommended. In the end, the criminal charges were dismissed against the male cadet, who faced administrative actions that the Air Force also refused to disclose.

For Sgt. Allmon, Col. Tukey scolded the prosecution in his post-hearing recommendation.

“Given the sheer volume of charges in this case, and the apparent tendency of that volume to artificially exaggerate the criminality of the accused, it is entirely possible that the trial judge will simply dismiss the offending specifications,” he wrote.

He also wrote, “The charging scheme exaggerates the criminality of the accused (as charged the accused faces 20 specifications carrying a maximum punishment including 130 years of confinement) for no real purpose.”

“In many of the individual specifications,” he wrote, “it could be argued that the accused was not so much motivated by sex or a desire to humiliate or degrade as simply being socially maladroit and crass.”

Still, he concluded, “Having heard the witnesses and examined the evidence presented at the Article 32 investigation, I conclude that generally speaking, probable cause exists to believe that Sgt. Allmon engaged in the conduct in the charges.”

Writing about one of the women, who said Sgt. Allmon moved her shorts up to look at her tattoo and touched her back, Col. Tukey wrote, “As with the other victim witnesses, I found her testimony generally credible and found no motive on her part to fabricate her allegations.”

Though Col. Tukey criticized the prosecution, he recommended a remedial way to help win a conviction at trial.

He condensed and rewrote the charge and then recommended the highest court-martial possible to what the military calls the convening authority. In this case, it is Maj. Gen. Richard Clark, the 8th Air Force commander. Sgt. Allmon faces a maximum penalty if convicted of 15 years in prison, loss of all retirement benefits, reduction to the lowest enlisted rank and a dishonorable discharge.

Mr. Addicott, Sgt. Allmon’s legal adviser, said criticizing the case, but then pushing for the highest court-martial, shows the grip that sexual abuse accusations exert on the military judicial system.

“The role the Article 32 officer is to make objective findings and recommendations to the convening authority putting aside all the inevitable ‘noise’ associated with any given criminal charge,” he said. “Sadly, he succumbed to the noise, which in this case involves the shrill screams of expediency. If nothing else, even a cursory review of the 32 officer’s report demonstrates how deep the insidiousness of political correctness has penetrated our military and its justice system.”

Sgt. Allmon arrived in Minot in 2012 as one of the military’s most recognized combat photographers. After tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he worked with a joint unit in Hawaii tasked with recovering the remains of U.S. war dead in Asia.

The sergeant was expecting Minot to be a low-key assignment, sort of like a teaching position, showing young public affairs personnel how to use the camera.

Minot had been a place of scandal. An atomic powerhouse able to unleash mass destruction in wartime, Minot is the only U.S. base to house two arms of the triad: Silo-based Minuteman III intercontinental missiles and B-52H bombers, affixed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

In a major miscue in 2007, a B-52H flew from Minot to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, its pilots unknowingly carrying live nuclear weapons.

In 2013, a major scandal among Minuteman III operations officers involved test cheating and drug use. Morale hit rock bottom. That December, the overall Minuteman III arsenal commander, Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, was fired for drunkenness and erratic behavior during an official trip to Moscow.

At this time, the public affairs office at Minot became a dangerous place. Depending on whom one believes, either Sgt. Allmon or the women around him were the victims.

Sgt. Allmon’s previous stops seemed to have prepared him for anything. He hooked up with special operations warriors, fighter pilots and Army brigades to capture in pictures the horrors and glories of Iraq and Afghanistan.

He deployed with an Army regiment that took part in the battle for the town of Tal Afar, Iraq, on the Syrian border in 2005.

The regiment’s citation for January and February 2006 said he “demonstrated technical expertise and his efforts to preserve the legacy of the regiment was critical to completing the regimental history project and documentary. His actions reflect great credit upon himself, the regiment of riflemen, and the United States Air Force.”

Sgt. Allmon had accompanied troops during the U.S. invasion’s earlier days. In 2004, he posted at the huge air base in Balad, Iraq, leaving 14 times to snap photos of American troops.

“He demonstrated exceptional composure by continuing to photograph, while receiving direct small arms fire and mortar rounds during combat patrols,” said a citation for an Air Force Achievement Medal. “He entered a tent moments after it was hit by mortar to ensure all occupants were out, and he assisted with the care of injured airmen.”

In 2008, he was named “military photographer of the year” for photographs titled “Solitude” of an F-16 jet fighter.

At Minot, Sgt. Allmon’s tenure quickly started going bad. In early 2013, he and a co-worker got into a dispute over a work product and she filed a complaint that he hit on her. That complaint was handled administratively.

The master sergeant who conducted the investigation said that in an office, with other airmen present, one knocked into her knee and Sgt. Allmon then touched the point right above the kneecap to show what had happened.

The master sergeant said he interviewed others in the public affairs office and none complained about Sgt. Allmon. The master sergeant could not substantiate the woman’s accusations of inappropriate remarks. Sgt. Allmon denied making such comments.

That summer, the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office came to Minot to talk about sexual harassment. A young public affairs service member covered the event and concluded that the offenses they talked about matched what Sgt. Allmon had done to her. She went to the sexual assault response coordinator. Shortly afterward, Sgt. Allmon found himself under criminal investigation.

Said Maj. Humphries, the Minot spokesman, “There is a tremendous amount of training we all accomplish each year in an effort to report/curb any sort of harassment or assault. Our sexual assault response coordinator program is robust and very active at every wing across the force. It’s drilled in our head from the moment we step off the bus at Lackland AFB for basic training. And all of this is a good thing. We spend a lot of time on this topic.”

The young woman accused Sgt. Allmon of propositioning her. She said he touched her hips while she was positioning herself in the turret of a Humvee vehicle to take photographs, and, another time, when he directed her as a model for a photo shoot.

Office of Special Investigations agents went to every office in the public affairs building and asked each woman whether Sgt. Allmon had ever touched them.

The Air Force did not only have the Pentagon telling it to wipe out sexual harassment. It also was dealing with the aftermath of a scandal at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas where scores of male instructors were found to be sexually abusing scores of young female recruits.

At Minot, Office of Special Investigations agents found five women total, one of whom said she did not want to participate in a court-martial.

Of the four who do, one Air Force woman said that during a basketball game at the base gym, she and Sgt. Allmon were sitting next to each other on the bench. They were talking about tattoos. The discussion moved to one on her thigh, an inking of rose petals. He moved up her shorts to see the entire tattoo. He later touched her back as they were leaving the gym.

Another public affairs woman, a lesbian who was going through a divorce from her wife, said he kissed her on the forehead and held her shoulders, and had made sexually inappropriate comments.

Sgt. Allmon’s third marriage was also failing. He made it known during discussions of gays in the military that he opposed same-sex marriage.

The Times generally does not identify accusers in sexual harassment cases.

A prisoner of Minot

By this July 2014, when Sgt. Allmon sat down for a lengthy videotaped interview with Office of Special Investigations, his mind and body were breaking down.

Multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan — carrying heavy gear and one hard landing in a chopper — had injured his spine.

Meanwhile, the aftereffects of battle, post-traumatic stress disorder, sent him into bouts of depression and nightmares.

By this summer, his medical condition grew acute, but he encountered roadblocks to treatment. His sister found a dogged ally in Jared Broderick of Austin, Texas, a medically retired Army veteran of Iraq who fights for wounded warriors.

Mr. Broderick went to Minot in June and demanded meetings with its medical staff. What he found was that the criminal case against Sgt. Allmon had melded with his medical needs.

“They didn’t want him to get treatment,” Mr. Broderick told The Times.

A letter from the Trinity Medical Group, a private psychiatric practice in Minot, said the clinic treated Sgt. Allmon last year and this year for “major depressive disorder, single episode, moderate to severe; post traumatic stress disorder; anxiety disorder and sleep issues.”

The letter said it ended care on orders from the medical staff at Minot.

The letter, written by the clinic’s nurse practitioner, said the Air Force criminal investigation had isolated Sgt. Allmon professionally and socially. This, she said, “are risk factors for exacerbation of depression, PTSD, and anxiety, which could ultimately lead to self-harm or suicide. Aaron Allmon suffers from all three of these conditions.”

Mr. Broderick said the Minot personnel treated Sgt. Allmon as a malingerer. They resisted the PTSD diagnosis for fear of turning him into a sympathetic figure. He decided in July to take the sergeant to the San Antonio Military Medical Center to seek mental health care.

While there, with Sgt. Allmon having difficulty walking, Mr. Broderick went to the emergency room and pressed Army doctors to admit him for emergency back surgery. It worked. He said Minot officials immediately tried to get him back.

“They wanted to claw him back there and court-martial him,” he said.

“What I feel happened is there was a concentrated effort by senior Air Force leaders who were determined to keep him at Minot at all times, even at the expense of his medical care, and make sure he was not classified as a wounded warrior,” Mr. Broderick said, “to essentially keep him on lockdown.”

He said Army doctors stood firm, and Minot backed off. Sgt. Allmon had his second back surgery, to widen the spinal canal, on Aug. 13 and is now recuperating at his sister’s home. His medical chart shows he has chronic cauda equina, which damages nerves and disrupts bladder function and lower-extremity movement.

Asked about Mr. Broderick’s story, Maj. Humphries, the Minot spokesman, said, “All personnel at Minot AFB are provided the highest-quality medical treatment according to their medical needs. If specific medical treatment is not available in the local area, the USAF sends patients to the locations where health care is available. I’ve seen this routinely occur since my arrival in May.”

By the time Sgt. Allmon reached the emergency room in San Antonio, Ms. Roper said, “He learned that he was only evacuating 10 percent of his bladder and had not had a full evacuation in months. This was all related to the pressure on his bladder from the crushed disk and nerves in his spine.”

She provided the hospital’s notes about her brother’s care in San Antonio. One entry said that a doctor at Minot told the hospital not to perform surgery and to send him back to the air base.

“He is just starting to get feeling back in his feet,” Ms. Roper said.

With the court-marital set to begin Monday, one charge is not “he said, she said.” Sgt. Allmon told an Office of Special Investigations agent that he did not have his cellphone with him. A few hours later, he corrected the lie and handed it over during the same interview session. He could be convicted of lying to the investigator.

Ms. Roper said he did not want to turn over nude photos of his wife. She said a forensic examination of his phone revealed no text messages or emails between him and his accusers.

[This appears to be the end of the published story.]

Air Force photographer cleared of most charges in sexual-harassment ‘witch-hunt’
By Valerie Richardson
Washington Times, 2015-11-14

MINOT A.F.B., North Dakota — An award-winning combat photographer who once faced up to 130 years in prison for sexual harassment may avoid jail altogether after being cleared Friday of the most devastating charges against him.

Judge Tiffany Wagner found Tech. Sgt. Aaron D. Allmon II guilty on three counts: two charges of maltreatment of two female airmen, and one charge of making a false official statement.

But the balance of Lt. Col. Wagner’s ruling tilted in Sgt. Allmon’s favor. She scaled back the maltreatment charges by removing references to “physical contact of a sexual nature.”

She also found Sgt. Allmon not guilty of sexual harassment of a civilian coworker; “assault consummated by a battery” on a female staff sergeant; and two counts of communicating a threat toward coworkers.


Aaron Allmon verdict deals blow to military’s high-profile attack on sex-related offenses
By Valerie Richardson
Washington Times, 2015-11-15

MINOT Air Force Base, North Dakota — As Air Force missions go, the prosecution of Tech. Sgt. Aaron D. Allmon II on explosive sexual-harassment charges ran into turbulence and wound up in a nosedive.

Despite facing up to 130 years in prison in the early stages of the case, Sgt. Allmon was sentenced Saturday to just 30 days behind bars after a judge found him not guilty of the most devastating charges against him, including assault consummated by a battery and threats against co-workers.

Judge Tiffany Wagner did find him guilty of maltreatment of two female service members and making a false official statement. Prosecutors then pushed for a bad-conduct discharge and reduction of rank to senior airman. The judge refused and instead docked him one stripe.


The problem for the prosecution appeared to be a lack of evidence. The judge found Sgt. Allmon not guilty of all touching offenses and threats, none of which could be corroborated by other witnesses.

Most of the crude verbal interactions also fell into the category of “he said, she said.”

The civilian co-worker said he sent her text messages inviting her to his home at night, but a search of his cellphone, including a search for deleted messages, turned up nothing.

The two maltreatment charges involved two young service women whom he instructed in photography in the public affairs office.

The false statement conviction, a felony, was for telling an investigator that his cellphone was with his wife when it was found in his desk.

One service member said he made her “feel like an object” by disagreeing with her lesbian lifestyle and that she was “trapped in a living hell.” Another said he “ruined” her first year in the military by calling her lazy and refusing to put her up for awards.

“I was ridiculed daily for being too sensitive, for being too emotional, for not being able to take criticism,” she said. “I am just hoping that the Air Force can prove to me that it is the institution that I thought it was.”


In the war against sexual assault, the Army keeps shooting itself in the foot
by Craig Whitlock
Washington Post, 2015-12-19

[The date above is the date on which the WP posted the story,
but it appeared in the print edition on Sunday, 2015-12-20,
as the feature story for that Sunday,
taking several inside pages as well.]


Donald Trump’s Remarks Show He’s Mistaken on Sexual Assault in Military
New York Times, 2016-09-09

WASHINGTON — Sexual assault in the military has plagued the Pentagon in recent years as a series of high-profile cases, and new data, revealed the extent of the problem. In response, President Obama and members of Congress demanded that military officials more aggressively address the threat and its causes.

Yet few military experts went as far as Donald J. Trump did Wednesday, when he suggested that the integration of women into the armed forces was an underlying cause of sexual assault.

Speaking at a candidates’ forum, Mr. Trump defended one of his Twitter posts from 2013 concerning the high number of sexual assaults in the military, and said that he had been “absolutely correct” in posting a message that said, “What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

The remarks drew criticism on Thursday from lawmakers and military experts, who said Mr. Trump had displayed ignorance of the Pentagon’s decades-long struggle to curb such assaults and the military justice system that is in place to prosecute them.

“That’s more than victim blaming, and it misunderstands the historical role of women in the military,” said retired Col. Don Christensen, a former chief prosecutor of the Air Force.

American women in the military have taken on expanded roles in recent years as the Pentagon has integrated them into more combat positions. But they have worked alongside servicemen since the Revolutionary War, and in significant numbers since World War II, something Mr. Trump did not acknowledge.

Their roles have grown over the centuries from nurses, cooks and seamstresses, who maintained the camps of the Continental Army, to fighter pilots, soldiers, sailors and Marines who are battling the Islamic State in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

“We couldn’t run a military without women,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He noted that an argument that the proximity of women was to blame for sexual assault could be applied to women on college campuses and in workplaces, where they are also assaulted. “Quite frankly, it’s absurd,” he said.

As the Pentagon has released more detailed records on the problem, the statistics reveal that sexual assault in the military is not just a problem faced by women. In 2014, the latest numbers available, the Pentagon estimated that 20,300 servicemen and servicewomen were assaulted that year.

“Over half the victims are men,” said Colonel Christensen, who is now the president of Protect Our Defenders, an advocacy group. Of the estimated 20,300 attacks in 2014 recorded by the Pentagon, roughly 10,600 of the victims were men, though women faced a higher rate of assault given their lower overall numbers in the armed forces.


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