Obama Takes On Sexual Assault Issue

President Obama last week met with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, and other military leaders at the White House to discuss the ongoing sexual assault issue facing the military. Briefing reporters following the May 16 meeting, Obama said this issue “undermines” trust in the military. “So not only is it a crime, not only is it shameful and disgraceful, but it also is going to make and has made the military less effective than it can be. And as such, it is dangerous to our national security,” he said. Speaking to reporters the following day, Hagel said the gathering was “important because it gave the President an opportunity to ask questions directly” to the military leadership and get the sense of this “serious problem.” Also on May 17, Hagel said he had his first meeting with the newly established, congressionally mandated Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel. (Hagel-Dempsey transcript) (Obama transcript) (See also Hagel Orders Retraining for Sexual Assault Responders and Under Fire.)