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Hagel orders review of sex-abuse prevention

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gestures as he speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, Friday, May 17, 2013, to discuss sexual assaults in the military and the promotion of Lt. Gen. Curtis "Mike" Scaparrotti to command U.S. troops in South Korea, among other topics. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gestures as he speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon, Friday, May 17, 2013, to discuss sexual assaults in the military and the promotion of Lt. Gen. Curtis "Mike" Scaparrotti to command U.S. troops in South Korea, among other topics. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday ordered the military to recertify all 25,000 people involved in programs designed to prevent and respond to sexual assault, an acknowledgement that assaults have escalated beyond the Pentagon’s control.

He said this step, which also applies to the military’s approximately 19,000 recruiters and must be completed by July 1, is one among many that will be taken to fix the problem of sexual abuse and sexual harassment within every branch of the military.

At a news conference with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hagel said he believes alcohol use is “a very big factor” in many sexual assault and sexual harassment cases, but there are many pieces to the problem.

Hagel signed a one-page memorandum addressed to the uniformed chiefs and civilian heads of each of the military services requiring that the credentials and qualifications of all recruiters, sexual assault response coordinators and sexual assault victim advocates be reviewed to ensure that they meet current standards.

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