No doubt, you are aware that there have been on-going Congressional Hearings regarding sexual harassment in the Military, with prior victims and top Pentagon Brass appearing at various times. I had written a previous Post on this topic, https://thetruthoncommonsense.com/2013/03/23/sex-crimes-in-the-military/.
Basically, this first came to light with the “Tail-Hook Society”, at it’s annual convention in 1991. Tail-Hook is a group of Navy and Marine Pilots. (The tail-hook refers to the hook, which hangs from the tail of a plane that grabs the arrestor cable to slow and stop planes, when they are landing on aircraft carriers.) There were a number of incidents of sexual harassment at that convention which received considerable attention afterward.
During the 22 years since, however, there doesn’t seem to have been any improvement. And, when you consider the environment in which the military operates, there doesn’t appear to have been much of a serious attempt to correct it. Recently, there have been several general officers who, upon reading reports with convictions at a Court Martial (with a jury of ones peers), overturned the conviction–without having attended the trial.
Several weeks ago, the U.S. Air Force Chief-of-Staff, testifying before Congress, noted that women might be joining the military with “hooking-up” in mind. Also recently, the Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, who was in charge of the overall anti-harassment program, accosted a woman after midnight one evening in a parking line. So, with leaders like this, how can things change? The problem seems to come from the top.
In the recent Senate Hearings, at which the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the Chief of every branch of the Military, as well as the Commandant of the Coast Guard (part of Homeland Security), appeared along with numerous other Senior Officers. Now, Sexual Harassment (against both sexes) in the Military has been going on for quite awhile and, from what I heard from the Chiefs, they didn’t bring any ideas, and certainly not any solutions. To me, there are two key points which could improve the situation: assign accountability at every level of command; and, remove the reporting and adjudication of sexual harassment crimes from the Command Structure.
First: I believe that Accountability has to be placed on every military commander, at every level, no matter of the location. The commanders are responsible for carrying out their orders, accomplishing their missions, managing their subordinates, etc.. So, isn’t sexual harassment detrimental to each of those? Make the commanders responsible.
Each year, military commanders are evaluated to record the performance of their duties, and to record their potential for career advancement. A percentage of whatever form they are evaluated on should specifically rate how well they have reduced sexual harassment–and instilled the necessary understanding on the part of their subordinates. Also, any commanders who need remedial attention in this matter should have that importance demonstrated by a higher percentage of their evaluation.
Second: The reporting and prosecution of acts of sexual harassment should be taken out of the hands of the commanders, lest they use one to cover the other–even by the environment that they establish. Create a totally separate line of reporting, within the Judge Advocate General branch of each service. All acts of sexual harassment should be reported to the local JAG Office, even if indirectly through the medical branch.
This makes sense, at least to me, since the Courts Martial system is handled through JAG. The respective commanders should be advised of any reports or trials, thus having a “dotted line” relationship with the court system, but no longer a reporting one. In essence, the JAG Reports would serve as each commander’s “score card”, and reported up the commander’s chain-of-command, because it would also roll-up to the higher commanders’ score cards. This JAG System should report directly up its own chain-of-command, at the Pentagon.
I believe that a commander who is expecting another star (or other promotion) is going to take pay more attention to any direct reports who might be working against his or her best interests. At the same time, let the lawyers manage the legal process, and cases would be based totally on the facts in the case and the legalities involved. I believe these changes will work!