More Problems For Military Sexual Assault Programs

Yet another officer charged with heading up a sexual harassment prevention program has been arrested:

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — Army officials say the manager of the sexual assault response program at Fort Campbell has been arrested in a domestic dispute and relieved of his post.

Lt. Col. Darin Haas turned himself in to police late Wednesday on charges of violating an order of protection and stalking. A spokesman for the post on the Tennessee-Kentucky line say Haas was immediately removed as manager of a program meant to prevent sexual harassment and assault and encourage equal opportunity.

This came on the same day that President Obama issued a rather strong statement on the issue of sexual assaults in the military:

Sexual assault in the military is “dangerous to our national security,” President Barack Obama declared Thursday as he huddled with his top military leaders at the White House to find a way to put an end to the problem.

Flanked by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, Obama convened the meeting in the Cabinet Room just before 5 p.m. Vice President Joe Biden also attended, along with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the service secretaries and others.

Obama said all of the military leaders at the table had expressed to him “that they’re ashamed by some of what’s happened.”

“The reason we are so good is not because of fancy equipment, it’s not because of our incredible weapons systems and technology, it’s because of our people,” he said. “It comes down to, do people trust each other and do they understand that they’re all part of a single system that has to operate under whatever circumstances effectively? The issue of sexual assault in our armed forces undermines that trust.”

Sexual assault in the military “is dangerous to our national security” and is “not a sideshow,” he said. “This goes to the heart and the core of who we are and how effective we’re going to be.”

There’s also action pending in Congress aimed at dealing with this problem, including legislation that would change the manner in which these cases are reported in order to remove the requirement that victims report these cases to commanding officers. What’s clear to me, though, is that there needs to be a crackdown on the discipline handed out in these sorts of cases so that the message is sent that there is a zero-tolerance policy.

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Military Affairs, Quick Takes
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. John Peabody says:

    I don’t know what we can do. I’ve been hearing about zero-tolerance since my first enlistement in 1977.

  2. @John Peabody: Maybe actually prosecute soldiers that do these things, along with the ones that help cover it up? And not let their commanding offices let them off without even a slap on the wrist?

  3. Caj says:

    Sadly sexual assault seems to be running rampant throughout the military. Yet, they are put on a pedestal by so many simply because they wear a uniform. Brave some maybe but remember not ALL of our service men and women ever see combat! As far as I’m concerned a uniform of any sort, whether it be military, cop, firefighter, doctor or the clergy can hide a multitude of sin! Just because someone wears a uniform like any of the above I mentioned does not necessarily make them a good person and one you can trust. It’s very sad to say that as you want to trust these people, but actions by some of them as we have seen over the years make you think!