A military jury at JBSA-Lackland, Tex., last week convicted the fifth former Air Force basic military training instructor of sexual misconduct in a special court-martial. SSgt. Jason Manko on Sept. 27 received a sentence of 45 days confinement, reduction in rank to airman first class, forfeiture of $500 per month for three months, and hard labor for 30 days, states a Lackland release. Manko pled guilty to having sex with a trainee and having developed an unprofessional, intimate relationship with her. The BMT sex scandal has caused the Pentagon to revamp its sexual assault prevention and response training requirements, including working with Congress to create a “special victims unit” to assist each of the services. The Pentagon announced the new standards on Sept. 25. “If we don’t take steps to deal with [sexual assault]—if we don’t exercise better leadership to confront it—it’ll get worse,” said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in a Sept. 28 release.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.