SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 1086]
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT
FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004H.R. 1588
OVERSIGHT OF PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED PROGRAMS
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE HEARINGS
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TITLE IVMILITARY PERSONNEL AUTHORIZATIONS
TITLE VMILITARY PERSONNEL POLICY
TITLE VICOMPENSATION AND OTHER PERSONNEL BENEFITS
TITLE VIIHEALTH CARE PROVISIONS
APRIL 1, 2003
TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York, Chairman
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
CANDICE MILLER, Michigan
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JIM RYUN, Kansas
EDWARD SCHROCK, Virginia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
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VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
MADELEINE BORDALLO, Guam
John D. Chapla, Professional Staff Member
Michael R. Higgins, Professional Staff Member
Lynn W. Henselman, Professional Staff Member
Debra S. Wada, Professional Staff Member
Dudley L. Tademy, Professional Staff Member
Mary Petrella, Research Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Tuesday, April 1, 2003, Fiscal Year 2004 National Defense Authorization ActU.S. Air Force Report on Sexual Assault Issues at the Academy
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Tuesday, April 1, 2003
TUESDAY, APRIL 1, 2003
FISCAL YEAR 2004 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTU.S. AIR FORCE REPORT ON SEXUAL ASSAULT ISSUES AT THE ACADEMY
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
McHugh, Hon. John M., a Representative from New York, Chairman, Total Force Subcommittee
Snyder, Hon. Vic, a Representative from Arkansas, Ranking Member, Total Force Subcommittee
Jumper, Gen. John P., Air Force Chief of Staff
Roche, Hon. James G., Secretary of the Air Force
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
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Roche, Hon. James G. and General John P. Jumper
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[The Questions and Answers submitted can be viewed in the hard copy.]
FISCAL YEAR 2004 NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACTU.S. AIR FORCE REPORT ON SEXUAL ASSAULT ISSUES AT THE ACADEMY
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Total Force Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Tuesday, April 1, 2003.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 1:01 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John M. McHugh (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
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OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN M. MCHUGH, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW YORK, CHAIRMAN, TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. MCHUGH. Meeting will come to order. I want to thank everyone for being here, certainly to our two presenters this afternoon, Secretary Roche and General Jumper. Gentlemen thank you. I know this is a very emotional issue for you and one that obviously as you heard in the Senate yesterday, commands a lot of attention and a lot of concern here on the Hill.
The Air Force Academy together with a military academy at West Point and the Naval Academy have long represented what is good, right and I think it is fair to say magnificent about the U. S. Military Services. America has come to look at these institutions as centers of excellence. And to expect a standard of performance that exceeds other American institutions.
For that reason alone, reports of a breakdown in the Air Force Academy's ability to prevent the sexual abuse of female cadets, protect the victims and punish the perpetrators have shocked us all very, very deeply.
Situation at the Air Force Academy deteriorated to such an extent that female cadets were apparently unwilling to report the abuse to command authorities and some today apparently remain unwilling to discuss their cases with Air Force investigators. They just do not believe that the Air Force will appropriately address their concerns.
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Such loss in confidence in leadership is a cancer that if left untreated will destroy a military organization. Beyond that, left uncorrected, it means that the terrible personal price being paid by female cadets who are abused by others at the Academy will continue.
Today's hearing is an effort to begin to understand how this highly disturbing situation at the Air Force Academy developed, and more importantly, how the Air Force leadership intends over the longer term to change the Academy system and culture so that such abuses do not occur ever again.
This is also an issue of how the Air Force intends to handle the individual cases of abused female cadets that were reported but not properly handled, as well as cases that have emerged that were never investigated.
As I said to both Secretary Roche and General Jumper at the full committee hearing on February 27, 2003 holding Air Force Academy leadership accountable for the failures in the system is an important action that must be taken. The Air Force in my mind has not yet moved to do that fully enough.
Reassignment of some of the leadership is not the same as holding the leadership accountable. So I specifically would like to understand better the rationale for the actions taken, and how accountability for serious breaches of good order and discipline at the Academy will be exacted both today and in the future.
Before I introduce our witnesses, let me offer Ms. Sanchez who will serve today as the acting ranking member and we are joined by the formal ranking member, Dr. Vic Snyder who will not be able unfortunately to stay for the entire hearing but whose interest and concern on this subcommittee in general and on this issue in specific areas is well known and a reputation of concern that is well deserved. So with that, let me please yield to the gentlelady from California, Ms. Sanchez.
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STATEMENT OF HON. LORETTA SANCHEZ, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I want to join you in welcoming our guests today, Secretary of the Air Force and our Chief of Staff of the Air Force. I look forward to hearing the details of their efforts to address the recent allegations of sexual abuse and assault to female cadets in the Air Force academy.
A number of my congressional colleagues and I are deeply concerned about the growing number of female Air Force cadets who have come forward with these allegations of sexual assault and abuse. And while it is important that we hear from you I feel like it is deja vu and what do I mean by that?
Well, only nine years ago a representative from the General Accounting Office (GAO) testified before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Force Requirements and Personnel on the need for further efforts to eradicate sexual harassment at the service academy.
The GAO testimony was based on a 1994 report which found that the academies had generally complied with the minimum requirements related to sexual harassment programs and policies required by the Department of Defense. However, more compelling was the fact that the compliance did not include sexual harassment prevention and education reviews by the Services Inspector General.
In addition, the GAO report went on further to state that none of the academies had developed useable trend data to assess the effectiveness of its sexual harassment eradication program. The Air Force Academy in particular had not conducted routine and systematic program evaluations, and why would this be significant?
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Because a disciplined evaluation approach is necessary to determine whether efforts to eradicate sexual harassment are working or whether new programs and policies should be implemented. And I believe as many do that sexual harassment is the beginning of a culture that allows us to get to the types of allegations that we are seeing today.
A year later in March, 1995 the GAO was requested to conduct an update on the review of sexual harassment at the academies. And the results? The GAO report stated that the proportion of women at the Naval and Air Force Academies who reportedly experienced some form of sexual harassment a couple times a month or more often represented a statistical significant increase from the 1990-91 levels.
The question the Air Force leadership needs to address is whether the Air Force Academy has conducted routine, systematic program evaluations of these sexual harassment programs since that 1995 report. And if they have been conducting such evaluations why is the system failing to catch the increasing number of sexual assaults and abuse that are occurring? And if you have not conducted those evaluations, why not?
While I applaud the Air Force for deciding to replace the current Academy leadership, this issue is more important than just a failure in leadership. It is systematic and cultural bias and a lack of respect for women.
It is very difficult to understand how we can take our best and our brightest of both genders from high schools where we do not see these types of attacks happening on a routine basis and place them in an academy of high caliber and have these types of allegations come forward.
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There is no doubt that there is no tolerance for harassment of any type and these assaults are basically crimesthat is what they areon women. Americas families send their best and their brightest women to attend our Nation's service academies.
They do so because they know that our women have much to contribute to our national security. And these women in uniform should be treated with respect and admiration as they deserve.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentlelady. By way of explanation to both the Secretary and to the Chief, and to the members, in theory we had this hearing room until four o'clock. I say theory because about three o'clock we are going to be called for a series of votes which in effect means that we have the hearing room until three o'clock.
This is a very important issue, and I do not want to deny any member his or her time, so one suggestion, one rule, suggestion is that we try to keep our opening statements to a minimum without denying anyone the opportunity, and the second is for the first time in my eight years of being a subcommittee chairman in one form or another, we will be employing the five minute rule. And with that
Ms. SANCHEZ. Mr. Chairman, with that may I submit for the record the statement from one of our colleagues, Congressman Michael Honda.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MCHUGH. Absolutely, without objection. Mr. Honda's and all submissions for the record will be entered in their entirety.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Honda can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. and with that I would yield to other members who would like to make an opening statement at this time.
Mrs. MILLER. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I would certainly also like to thank the witnesses, Secretary Roche and General Jumper for testifying before this subcommittee on an issue that if the allegations are in fact true, has become unfortunately a very black mark on a wonderful institution.
Recent reports about rape and sexual assaults have cast a very dark shadow over the integrity of our service academies and if these reports are accurate, then more than 50 complaints of sexual misconduct have been reported at the Air Force Academy alone since 1993, with a majority of the perpetrators receiving apparently little or no punishment.
And indeed there are apparently cases where a female cadet has reported a sexual assault and instead of her assailant receiving the appropriate condemnation, the female cadet herself has been subject to punishment for minor ancillary violations.
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Certainly it is incumbent on all of us first of all to make sure that the allegations are real, that we do not jump to conclusions and that innocent individuals are protected. However, if these reports do prove to be true this is simply disgraceful.
And the simple fact that this unhealthy situation has been allowed to continue for so long speaks to an institutional culture that has manifested itself by lack of effective command, control and supervision.
Sexual assault is both a serious and incredibly sensitive issue that needs to be addressed immediately in order to preserve the confidence of the American people in our armed forces. I recently had the privilege actually of nominating a young lady from my district to the Air Force Academy.
And as I was interviewing her I was struck by how very bright, how very optimistic and how very decent she seemed to be. And her parents came with her and it was obvious how proud they were of her and of her decision to seek a career in the armed forces, particularly the Air Force.
I told her that if she was accepted to the Air Force Academy the country would be investing an incredible amount of money in her education, but that I was certain that she could prove herself and would prove herself to be a very capable person that would make both her family and our Nation proud.
And just last week I received a notice that she had been accepted into the Air Force Academy and I will be looking forward to following what I am certain will be a remarkable career for this young woman.
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The young men and women at our academies are indeed the best and the brightest our Nation has to offer and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are able to take full advantage of this opportunity with an eye towards their future. And in the case of a young women without fear for their personal safety. And to do less would be a disservice to them and to the United States.
Certainly, on the positive side, I am pleased to note that the Air Force has taken some important steps to rectify the situation, including the removal of the Director of the Air Force Academy and the rewriting of the Cadet Code of Behavior. These are very important steps toward clear direction from the top down that will ensure that all cadets, male and female see these changes as the beginning of a zero tolerance policy.
All of us are incredibly proud of our armed services and I certainly look forward to working together as a team to ensure that this issue is resolved and resolved properly. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. I Thank the gentlelady. Do any other members of the subcommittee wish to make a statement at this time.
We have been joined and I would ask for a break from the normal committee process, whereby we do welcome members of the full committee but generally do not allow statements by them, at this time. But we have been joined by two particularly esteemed members, Mr. Hefley and Ms. WilsonI drew a blank, I apologize Heatherwho would like to make statements? I would like to extend to them that courtesy.
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And I would be honored to yield to the subcommittee chairman, the Readiness Subcommittee, the gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Hefley.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Chairman, thank you for your courtesy and for letting Heather and me sit in on this hearing because it is very important to both of us as it is to all of us. And I have no formal opening statement, but let me just say, gentlemen, that I read some criticism of both of you from the testimony over in the Senate. And let me say that I disagreed with what I read.
Both of you and I; you have worked with me openly and candidly from the very first day that this thing broke. I have appreciated that and the thing I have appreciated the most is that neither one of you took this casually. Neither one of you kind of passed it off or swept it under a rug. Both of you took it with the seriousness that I think it deserves, and I want to say thank you for that.
What I was afraid would happen is what so often happens in big organizations that is, you would, oh we got a problem go fire and forget, go get rid of someone, we will find someone to be a scapegoat and we will get rid of them, and then we will say ''oh everything is just fine.'' You did not do that. And I appreciate that, because we have a system that is broken out there.
I am not surprised these kind of things happen, they happen in colleges all over the country. But I am, was very surprised, very shocked and very disappointed at the culture that seems to developed that allows it to be handled the way it was traditionally handled out there. And I think you were just as shocked and displeased as I was.
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So I think we have a system that is broken, we want to hear from you today how that system is going to be fixed. As I told you before, I have three daughters. And I would like to feel that the safest place in America that I could send my three daughters to college is the United States Air Force Academy. And we are looking to you and with our involvement I hope to make that come true.
And Mr. Chairman I would stop with that.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman. Next I would be honored to yield to the gentlelady from New Mexico, who obviously has been a key player not just on this issue but other issues, sexual abuse and so many others including the spousal death, the tragic murders at Fort Bragg and so forth. Ms. Heather Wilson.
Ms. WILSON. Thank you Mr. Chairman, I come to this hearing with a considerable amount of sadness and personal interest as I think all of you can understand as both the only woman veteran in this House but also as a distinguished graduate of this institution and in the third class with women, and as a former commander of base cadet training in the United States Air Force Academy.
I believe I think, as you do, that it is absolutely intolerable to commission anyone as an officer who would prey upon their subordinates. It is intolerable. And the question then becomes how do we fix it. How do we not fire and forget. How do we not make this an issue of scapegoats and focus on the policies and the contributory factors that increase the risk of assault and the failure to report assault because of fear of reprisal. How do you change those things.
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I read through your testimony last night Mr. Secretary and I have done some more reflecting on this and I think that there are a lot of good ideas and good direction in it. I think the mentoring focus, the focus on leadership development, the consolidation of investigation in case management and medical and disciplinary into a single point where they were fragmented before were all good ideas worthy of pursuing.
But I also think there are some things missing that also need to be added into the approach at the Academy. Policies that foster a culture of respect and acceptance of women as full partners in our Nation's defense, that address the culture and the tolerance of discrimination towards women. It existed when I was there and I suspect still exists today.
I think we also need to look at follow on assignments for Air Officers Commanding (AOC), because if you get good follow on assignments for AOC's, you will have the best and the brightest apply to be AOC's. And it will not be a dead end, backwater assignment.
I also think though that there are some distractions in your recommendations, some bells and whistles that are probably counterproductive because the cadets will respond to them as being bogus. And I have already got some e-mails on some of them. Things like pilotsand graduate school and dates of commissioning, dates of rank, I do not see how any of those relate to reducing sexual assault at the Air Force Academy.
And there is an issue of whether women will be segregated on the first day they show up at the Academy, one that was a surprise to me in reading the testimony last night. It was a surprise because that was one of the things that was criticized in the response to sexual assault in some of the cases that were brought forward.
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The victim was the one that gets moved. This is not about segregating women from men. It is about segregating rapists from the Academy. And that is where we need to focus.
I am still wondering exactly where we go from here. I am at the point where I have been impressed where you have come so far but I think we may need an independent review of the problem and of the proposed solutions. And the reason is that we are now at a point where the monkey is firmly on the back of the United States Air Force.
And sometimes when that is the case, the pressure of deciding things in a very short period of time yields policies that perhaps on reflection are not in the best interests of the Air Force. And maybe that is stepping back. That independent review will allow us to make sure that the policies that are implemented to correct this are the appropriate ones.
Thank you Mr. Chairman for your indulgence.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentlelady. Yet a further amendment to the previously amended rulesboth Ms. Wilson and Mr. Hefley obviously are members of the full committeewe have been joined by the gentlelady from Colorado, Ms. DeGette, who obviously being from Colorado has a particular interest in this, who has asked for a moment to say a few words in opening, and with no objection I would be happy to yield to her at this time. Ms. DeGette.
Ms. DEGETTE. Thank you so much Mr. Chairman. I basically wanted to express my thanks to you and to the committee for allowing me to sit in on this important hearing today. Obviously the spate of revelations lately about sexual assault and really a culture of rape that has developed at the Air Force Academy has concerned I know Mr. Hefley and myself and all the members of the delegation.
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I want to associate myself with the comments just made by my colleague from New Mexico. Ironically a lot of people do not know this, we actually knew each other when she was a cadet at the Air Force Academy and I was a student at Colorado College right down the road. And I think she is right when she says that, when she says that window dressing or segregating the women at the Academy is not going to solve the problem. And I was pleased with a few of the new directives I heard from the Air Force last week.
But many of those in my view are window dressing. I am going to tell you that if you institute a rule, well taking down the slogan is going to do nothing to change the culture of rape at the Academy. But even beyond that, the basic cadet life, some of the proposals were alright, but they are really not going to stop rape.
Things like knock on the door before you go into a cadet's room. If someone is hell bent on raping a female cadet, they are not going to knock first and instituting a rule like that is not going to stop the culture of rape. So I am interested in hearing what the witnesses had to say today about how we are going to change the entire procedure at the Air Force Academy so that we do not have this culture which subjects women to sexual assault and which makes them feel like they are the perpetrator if a sexual assault happens.
One final note, and perhaps someone can explain this to me today because I am very interested in it. One of the directives that was adopted last week said that there is going to be a period for the female cadets where they will be, a period where they will be forgiven for what they did if they come forward.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I would like to know what, if they did not do anything wrong, why we are going to forgive them for what they did. I think that shows a wrong view and I think it shows the blame the victim mentality that I have deep concerns with.
And I will yield back and again thanks so much to the chairman and the rest of the members of the committee.
Mr. MCHUGH. The Gentlelady is very welcome, we are honored by her presence here today. The gentleman from Massachusetts, longstanding member of the full committee and esteemed member, welcome member of the subcommittee, Mr. Meehan would like to say a few words.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you Mr. Chairman and I will be brief. I am ranking member on the Terrorism Subcommittee and we meet at two o'clock so I did not want to miss an opportunity to just make a couple of brief remarks.
And I would agree with Mr. Hefley that the response of Secretary Roche and General Jumper was strong and swift and I had made a comment before the full committee that we need to learn lessons. And I remember when the Tailhook scandal first broke and there were a lot of efforts to cover things up. And I think that has not been the case in this instance.
Secretary Roche in recent days I think has defended the actions of the current leadership of the Academy. I probably will not be here to be able to ask a question, but it does seem to me that the current leadership did inherit a terrible problem at the Academy that was not necessarily their fault.
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However, it is not clear from the reports I have seen and I would be interested in the testimony of the secretary and the general as to whether or not the leadership, Generals Dallager and Gilbert made serious attempts to improve the climate that they inherited.
From my perspective, commanders have a responsibility to improve a climate that they inherit and I really have not seen that much in terms of what they did. An example of what I am interested is the so called amnesty program.
It is my understanding and I may be wrong, but cadets who reported rape or sexual assault were not granted amnesty for other minor violations. For example unauthorized use of alcohol or unauthorized dating that they may had committed during the course of the assault. And it seems to me that that is a policy that discourages the reporting of sexual assault and is in an area as one member of the committee I would be interested to see what was employed and what corrections or changes need to be made.
I thank both the secretary and the general for their appearance and enjoy working with both of them. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank the gentleman. Mr. Secretary and Chief thank you again for being here today. Obviously this is an area of deep concern I know with you, I certainly trust with the Air Force command and with all the members of this subcommittee and all our honored guests. So we look forward to your comments. And with that, Mr. Secretary I would yield to you for any statement you would like to make at this time.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF HON. JAMES G. ROCHE, SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE
Secretary ROCHE. Thank you Mr. Chairman and we will get to I think the specific issues and questions and we would be delighted to address them. Mr. Chairman, Congresswoman Sanchez, Congressman Snyder, members of the committee, Ms. Wilson and Mr. Hefley, we appear before you today to report on our agenda for change in the United States Air Force Academy as a result of complaints regarding incidents of sexual assaults there and our response to those complaints. We have provided the committee with a copy of the document and ask that it be entered into the record sir.
Since January of this year we have been engaged in a comprehensive review of the investigative procedures, disciplinary processes and overall climate and culture at the Air Force academy. I should tell you that I have been in this position since June of 2001 and General Jumper since September of 2001.
We have found that we have been drawn to the Academy to work on issues time and time again. In the past we have reviewed and had to make changes to the honor code system and the processes. We have had to make changes to how athletes are recruited and numbers of recruited athletes, and we have even gotten involved in the curriculum because we found it was starting to depart from the technical basis that it should have.
So it has drawn us, yet in all of that we did not expect to have to deal with what we are having to deal with and I can tell you the entire Air Force is quite taken by how much this hurts all of us, not just the graduates of the institution who it especially hurts, but all of the Air Force that we have to have this sort of incidence occur.
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Our focus throughout has been on fulfilling our goals of educating, training and inspiring in Air Force leaders the highest character and integrity, ensuring the safety and security of every cadet and enhancing the trust and confidence of the American people in the Academy.
As we have worked, we have been blessed with some help from members both the Senate and here in the House and I would like thank them for all that they have done and their inputs. However, as the results are ours, we take responsibility for them.
Mr. Chairman, if I may we would like to be clear how we view our responsibility in terms of protecting the cadets, attacking the climate and cultural issues that occurred at various reportings, our views on accountability and our position on independent review of this matter.
First we have expeditiously pursued our review at the Academy and issued our agenda for change because of our responsibility to protect the cadets who are at the Academy and the incoming class will be attending the Academy this June, less than 90 days from now. And we needed to make sure that everyone realized how serious this was and that this was not a small portion of Academy life but that reflected something associated with a larger climate and a larger culture at the institution.
As a responsible agents for the safety and security of the men and women at the Academy, we immediately addressed these issues so we could reassure the parents of our current and future cadets that their children would be safe at our institution. Something we never thought we would ever have to do. Further we want to reassure you and Members of the Congress that the young Americans we appoint to the Academy will attend an institution as worthy of the trust and confidence of all Americans.
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We are committed to eliminating the climate at the Academy that does not deter and then discourages reporting of sexual assaults. It is just that simple. We are determined that this be a zero tolerance institution and that we get at the root of why these are not deterred, why these happened and then why assaults are not reported when they ought to be reported.
The issue was thought to be successfully addressed in 1993. We believe that sexual assaults and cadet attitudes towards women cadets is part of a larger problem of the climate at the Academy which is inconsistent with the culture we desire to be there.
Therefore, we have addressed the larger issue as well as the potentially despicable act of sexual assault and we recognize that you do not fix this with any one set of directives or any one incident, but this is a journey of, a long journey that has to be taken and addressed time after time.
General Jumper and I have made it clear to this committee, to the cadets, the American people that we will not tolerate in our Air Force or in our Academy those who sexually assault others, those who would fail to act to prevent assaults, those who fail to report assaults or those who would shun or harass those who have the courage to report incidence of criminal behavior.
And as has been noted, we do not wish to commission any criminal. We do not want any such person in our Air Force. We do not want him flying one of our airplanes and we certainly do not want him flying an airplane with plenty of weapons on board.
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On the issue of accountability and responsibility please let me be clear. We will hold those officers charged accountable for failings for which they are responsible. The adverse climate has been present for at least a decade.
I have agreed to look deeper into the possible responsibility of present and previous leadership of the Academy. Therefore, I have asked the general counsel to investigate two questions as part of her review. One, has recent leadership of the Academythat is not just the two generals who are there but their predecessors as welldid they have information available to them which should have rang alarms such that they should have acted with great vigor.
And what did they do and did we believe that that is sufficient, relative to the information they had when in fact in the larger was not, but did they believe they were taking the right kinds of measures.
Second, did recent administration's at the Academy, did anything that put additional barriers or put barriers in the way of a cadet coming forward to make a report of sexual assault? Both in terms of how the Academy dealt with issues specifically amnesty, or in terms of the fear of being ostracized by her peers.
If it is shown that any of the three ongoing reviews-that being done by general counsel, that being done by the Inspector General (IG) of the United States Air Force and that being done by the Inspector General at the Department of Defense, that credible information came to the attention of leaders and that they should have acted upon it or that they failed to follow due process then they will be held accountable.
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And we continue to be open independent reviews of this matter. As we stated, we did not wait to form outside commissions or turn this matter over to other bodies for review because of our concern that we needed to act to make immediate changes and to communicate to the Academy that this was a major problem which the entire Academy and Air Force needs to address.
We have changed the leadership team for change to make sure the class of 2007 starting as I said in less than 90 days enters a new environment that promotes reporting of criminal acts and further protects all of our cadets. The DoD inspector general, and the Air Force inspector general revealing individual cases to ensure that there was no miscarriage of justice and to ensure that due process was afforded to all victims and those accused.
We welcome views and suggestions of outsiders and in particular will be meeting with our Board of Visitors who have been helpful to us in this matter within the next 30 to 45 days to brief them on everything, to show them what we have done, to begin and then to ask them to help us establish an independent review board who can not only go in and take a look at what is there, but to see if we are on the right path so that we do not have this problem in 2013.
There was a problem in 1993, a problem 2003, we cannot have a situation where we allow another problem to develop in 2013, and that we believe that the Board of Visitors is the right body to help form this group and that this group would be asked to not only participate immediately but also to help us in the reviews that we have scheduled for every three years so as to do an audit of what has been done over that period of time.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We welcome these reviews because they support our objectives of protecting the cadets, eliminating the climates that create barriers to reporting, it will help us commission leaders of the highest character, integrity and values and if any of the reviews there is found to be additional responsibility we will ensure that accountability goes with that responsibility.
We believe the proportion of cadets who would commit these acts is very small, but even one is too many. And the climate that seems to allow this must end. We do not want to graduate a criminal or someone who has a corrupted sense of character and charge him to lead our airmen or go into combat with any of our other airmen.
Now Mr. Chairman, if I may, I would like to touch on a few preliminary findings and then turn the microphone over to General Jumper. We found as just some of them of significant indications of the primary value among many of our cadets is loyalty to each other, rather than loyalty to values. There have been repeated indications from cadets, faculty and staff interviews indicating cadet unwillingness to report fellow cadets even for criminal behavior including sexual assaults and we have to alter that kind of a climate.
The interviews suggest that this loyalty manifests itself in a fear of ostracism, if they appear to be disloyal to the group and they appear to believe that reporting is inconsistent with the culture that says cadets are supposed to support one another.
We havethe process used to encourage confidential sexual assault reporting, a process implemented in 1993 has had the unintended effect of impeding or preventing altogether the investigation of reported assaults and remove the process from the chain of command who normally would be on top of the issue immediately and carrying out what needs to be carried out as they would at any one of our bases.
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We have verified that prior to the completion of some Office of Special Investigations (OSI) investigations at least some cadet victims have received notice of disciplinary action for violating cadet regulations where the behavior roles from prohibitive activity to assault complaint.
There is at least one case where a cadet came forward-had the courage to do so-the investigation was ongoing, instead of the assailant, or alleged assailant being separated from her, she was separated from a squadron in which the assailant was a participant and there was no feedback.
This was so bizarre that as we dug into it we have found that there has been some very bad legal advice given to the leadership of the Academy. In particular they used to separate the assailant away from the squadron and have the assailant stay at the prep school down the hill, go to classes but then sleep and eat at the prep school.
Somewhere about ten years ago it was decided this was tantamount to pre-trial confinement and therefore that could not be done. So the only thing they had to do was to move the victim, which unfortunately takes her away from her support group and makes it look like she is the problem and not the assailant.
We have found to our surprise and we are currently involved in arguments with our own attorneys that there are provisions of the privacy act which prohibit the leadership of the Academy to give the proper feedback to a victim as to what has occurred in the case of the assailant if there is insufficient evidence for the matter to go to trial, but that if it is handled by non-judicial punishment or by administrative means that they are prohibited from telling the victim how things have been dealt with.
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We have to work at this to find out the basis for this and to change it, because the victim is left having made a complaint and then not given the proper feedback so that she understands what is happening in the process. And remember the things we are trying to institute get at that very issue.
Our overall sense is that a female airmen first class at any Air Force base has a far better support structure if a problem arises. A far better process and chain of command to deal with the problem than a female cadet at the Academy and that is absolutely shameful. We have definition problems because we have used different definitions of sexual assault at the Academy than we do at our bases.
We have been told for instance that female cadets were told that if they consumed alcohol they could not by definition give consent which only complicated the issue if they believe that because there is no basis for that in the law. And we said, as I said the feedback to the individual cadets has not been what it ought to be.
We have had a series of cases-there are 56 if you add the newest ones-20 of those constitute situations of cadet on cadet accusations of rape, three were later recanted so we are talking about 17. But the numbers that we are dealing with are not nearly as important as what has occurred to General Jumper and me in the intervening times, Mr. Chairman.
The number of female officers that we know professionally who are superlative, simply superlative, who have taken the time to come up to us and say I have never told anyone, but I think you ought to know what happened to me. Suggesting that the problems we are dealing with are very longstanding, go back a long way and that we have to change the entire culture of the Air Force Academy in order to deal with this particular problem.
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The focus is sexual assault, the reporting, et cetera, but it is embedded in a larger culture and that culture must change. It must change to a culture where performance of an individual is what counts, not their gender, not their alma mater, not their race, but their performance, and we intend to make that happen.
This has bothered all of us, this has bothered us at a time when we should be focusing on supporting our combatant, our component commander who is supporting General Franks, but this is so important for our future that it has consumed the time of both the chief of staff and myself.
If I may now sir turn this over to General Jumper.
STATEMENT OF GEN. JOHN P. JUMPER, AIR FORCE CHIEF OF STAFF
General JUMPER. Mr. Chairman, Ms. Sanchez, distinguished members. Sir I am here today to report to you that the Superintendent of the Air Force Academy reports directly to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force. And I am absolutely dedicated along with Dr. Roche as we have heard to return the Academy to a place that graduates officers of the highest character, honor and integrity.
The standard that you see demonstrated every day, Mr. Chairman, over the skies of Iraq many of those pilots and crew members that we see over the skies of Iraq are Air Force Academy graduates.
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I have been closely associated with the graduates of the Air Force Academy for 37 years in my career and I can tell you sir they are indeed the best among us. And our intent is to fully return the Air Force Academy to the stature of an institution that has the trust and confidence not only of this committee but of the American people.
As the secretary has said, we have had to react to a situation where certain steps had to be taken within the 90 days where new cadets will report to the Air Force Academy and to reassure the parents of those cadets that their children are entering a place that is safe and a place where we can assure their proper safety and education to become an officer in the Air Force.
But we also have come across the fact as the secretary has said of larger problems. A problem where victims come forward and appear to be afraid to approach their chain of command with their problems. This is not true anywhere else in the Air Force. And this is the climate that we have to attack that we have to correct.
The changes that we have put in place and are putting in place will ensure that any cadet can enter and approach anyone in the chain of command and assure that they will be put into an environment where the victims emotional condition will be respected and the victim will find an advocate to make sure that the case is heard properly through each step of the process.
As to accountability, as the secretary and I said in the news conference as we rolled out our agenda for change, as we go through the process either the Inspector General or other parts of the process, whatever long term independent looks are taken, when it is discovered that accountability for a certain problem is the appropriate course of action the secretary and I are fully prepared to take those steps.
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In that regard, as the secretary has said, independent looks are welcome. We stepped out quickly knowing that it would take some time to form independent commissions and independent looks and knowing that we had to take some action before the new cadets arrived we stepped out smartly with what we thought were appropriate changes to the situation at the Academy.
Sir I am most troubled by the fact that within the culture there seems to be ambiguity among the cadets about priorities of loyalty. And that loyalty to comrades, even comrades that might be criminal stands above loyalty to the institution and loyalty to values. This will be a main topic of my personal attention as we implement changes at the Air Force Academy in the weeks ahead prior to the arrival of the new cadets.
I fully intend to stand before the current second class along with the Secretary of the Air Force that will be the senior class next year and along with me a graduate from each of the classes of the United States Air Force Academy since its first class and lay before them a charter that helps them accept the responsibility for the discipline, for the culture, for the character of those that are below them in a way that will help us weed out, as Congresswoman Wilson said those criminals among us. We will not graduate or commission a criminal in our United States Air Force sir.
Along with that, other specifics will be put into place such as the Air Officer Commanding training that was discussed earlier. In the budget strains of previous years we indeed cut out the formal training of our AOC's and began to appoint those officers who were in charge of a cadet squadron from the normal pool of applicants and failed to do the sort of quality screening and quality preparation that is required to put an officer into that very different environment at the Air Force Academy.
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As was also suggested we failed to make sure that their assignment was considered a prestigious assignment and reward that prestigious assignment with the proper follow on assignments. Those things have already been corrected along with the proper training of our noncommissioned officer (NCO) core as they relate to the Academy and a number of other steps that will go along with ensuring that our Air Force Academy reflects the norms and the day to day processes we find out in the United States Air Force day in and day out.
Mr. Chairman, I am here again to pledge to you a return to the Air Force Academy that Ms. Wilson remembers and that members of the Air Force Academy alumni from whom I have heard much also remember. Thank you sir I look forward to your questions.
[The joint prepared statement of Secretary Roche and General Jumper can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you general. And thank you Mr. Secretary. Just to begin to give ourselves some context, both of you gentleman, most of us here today, every news report I have read uses the word culture.
Mr. Secretary, you also used the word climate, essentially meaning the same thing. A set of embodied principles or beliefs or behaviors within the Air Force Academy that somehow allowed this, if not nurtured it. I am not sure either of those words culture or climate are well defined.
Mr. Secretary, in the latter parts of your remarks, I think you touched on some of those cultural specifics. Practices separating victim rather than perpetrator. Other kinds of issues. But I was wondering as I read your document clearly this is something that is designed to try to amend the culture, and I commend you for that. But I was wondering just for a point of reference, could you help me at least understand more clearly what specifically was in the culture of the Air Force Academy that somehow seemed to suggest this abhorrent behavior was alright?
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Secretary ROCHE. I will start sir and then ask General Jumper.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you sir.
Secretary ROCHE. Clearly this starts with this horrible situation of sexual assault. When we began to look into it, how was it treated and why were victims not treated well, we found that in 1993 there was this program that was referred to as the amnesty program, which was discretionary.
Well, I benchmarked against the Naval Academy and going out to the Naval Academy asking, and they have a program wherein if someone brings forward an accusation of sexual assault, they deal with that accusation but then they go back to the individual and midshipmen and if they in fact had broken any of the rules of the Naval Academy, then they were issued demerits etc. It appears not to be a major barrier for someone coming forward at the Naval Academy but it does at the Air Force Academy.
Therefore that led us to think well, what else was surrounding it? Clearly such things as not being able to tell the victim what happened, and this is a legal fight, Mr. Chairman. We may have to come back and ask for your help to deal with this matter of privacy for the assailant which means the victim is left without information. Or the fact that you cannot separate the assailant because it is pre-trial confinement which is just bizarre in our mind if you then in order to ensure the safety of the young woman, have to move her out. That seems crazy.
We found that the amnesty program was either not implemented with enough standards so as to be credible, and the more we thought about it we said the issues associated with the Academy's infractions are just not relevant to crime. One is a crime, a sexual assault, when it is treated with the proper definition as I have said we have had definitial problems, and the other infractions of the Academy. And a lot of the cadets were concerned that not only if they came forward they would receive some punishment, but that associates who were with them in a party environment would also wind up having to be subject to this.
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And so our sense was we will overrule the system and give blanket amnesty. Just blanket amnesty. We will say if someone comes forward to report an incident of sexual assault, that we will give blanket amnesty to that person throughout the process. And even if it turns out to be insufficient evidence to forward either judicially or administratively, still blanket amnesty. We will make an exception for the alleged assailant clearly. We will make an exception for any cadet who interferes with the investigation or did nothing to stop an assault.
And then, as part of changing this culture, we will also hold the senior cadet present responsible. Because we want cadets who are senior to others to understand they have a responsibility for those who are junior to them. And not just be an independent party at one of these. So a number of things we have done, we have tried to get back to the sense that cadets have responsibilities for each other. We saw them not reporting each other but not having respect for each other.
So the single thing that started this was that we then observed that there are difficulties with the athletics department. There are incidents that we are trying to dig into at this time where there may be a double standard. We found that intercollegiate athletes just did not participate with the rest of the squadrons, that they were in training all year long. They ate at separate tables, they did very little with the squadrons. There was almost two groups of cadets and that in fact someone in that department even if they fell off a team could mask that for almost a year and stay at the training tables. And that it was not part of the mainline academy, that there was a breakdown in the chain of command and the chain of responsibility.
We found that in the academic departments, at least one academic department, we had an issue with an offsite skit that we found to be utterly offensive, and would be offensive to any adult let alone any woman. And flyers placed at the places of the individuals who went to the skit. Yet the chairman of the department was there. And he did not seem to feel that this was a bad thing.
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And we worried about that. We worried is there another separate life of academics separate from the goal of the institution which is to train and educate officers for our Air Force? Not to be a highly competitive debating society in university circumstances?
We found that there was a sense among the cadets that maybe they are above the rules. That prohibition from drinking in the dorm, well we do not really have to worry about that. Or providing alcohol to minors. Almost all of these situations, almost all, involve alcohol. And yet older cadets were buying and providing alcohol to younger cadets. And our sense was that has to end, and so we will disenroll anyone who does that.
The other changes having to do with access to pilot is to make the point that it is performance. We want the best. And we want to have a culture there that says it is the performance of the individual, not their gender, not their race, not their alma mater but the performance of the individual. That covers a whole lot of territory and we realize we are not fixing the problem now. We are making a beginning.
General JUMPER. Sir if I might just follow up. Another disturbing anecdote that we found was within the honor code, and the secretary and I have been working on this for some time now. There was a growing and emerging belief over recent years that a lie is not a lie unless you intended it to be a lie. So in their construction and transmission of a falsehood it was not considered an honor violation unless the intent was there.
And these attempts to navigate around the spirit of the code into daily life by trying to interpetthe code by syllable was becoming more and more prevalent in our approaches to honor violations. I totally disagree with this, and I think it also leads to again that erosion of character where we look for the loopholes rather than abide by the spirit.
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Also Mr. Chairman, in dormitory life, we found that over the years we had gone to much less vigilance within the dormitories. As a matter of fact, we started leaning on cadets to perform dormitory monitor jobs. These very cadets who carry a very heavy academic load and the Air Officers Commanding of each of these squadrons taking less and less of a role in their comprehensive patrolling of the dormitories and being involved in the daily lives of the cadets in that squadron, as is there charter.
Again, we are going to return to some basics here because sir there is nothing I am describing to you that has not been done before at the Air Force Academy and we are going to return to these standards.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you gentleman. I want to make one I hope brief comment and ask a final question and then I will yield to my colleagues. Obviously this document is a work in progress as I heard both of you say. It is both outside the room and in it. And I do not know as any of us can subject it to an expectation of being perfect. Because perfect is a judgment that we will all reach independently, clearly.
I will tell you I do have some concerns about what I do not see in it, as Ms. Wilson and others have suggested. I am struck-we have a lack of assurance in confidentiality for the victim that is stated in this. You may intend it, I hope you do, but I think from what little I pretend to know about the very emotional instances that we are dealing with here, confidentiality of the victim in some sense is absolutely essential.
I am also concerned that I do not get an impression that there is any reliance or interoperability with the local civilian, both legal authorities and perhaps more importantly those independent organizations that deal with these issues particularly as advocates of women's victims that I think have a wealth of knowledge and at least in the short term probably enjoy a greater level of confidence amongst those who either have been abused or who might potentially be abused. But those can be addressed hopefully, and I think they very much need to be.
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The question I would have is, Mr. Secretary, as I said in my opening statement during the March 27 full committee hearing, I commented about the culpability potentially of the command staff here. Culture is an important part, but somewhere at some level someone failed. We are dealing with now what I understand is a field of about 56 cases that were inappropriately handled. I am not about to condemn any specific officer at this point. I am not in a position to judge. I have suspicions but that is not what we judge careers on, suspicions.
But as you heard in the Senate yesterday, clearly culture is important but it is difficult to establish reliability in any reform culture if our demonstrated lack of holding someone accountable argues differently. And Mr. Secretary, I was pleased to hear your comments today about the investigation as to the specific actions or lack thereof of certain officers and I think that is absolutely essential here. And I am not looking to ruin any person's career inappropriately or without cause.
I am an eight year member, proud member, of the Board of Visitors at West Point. I cannot sit here and tell you that the superintendent of the Air Force Academy knew about a single instance of these. Or the commandant. But somebody must have. Somebody failed.
And if that is the case, I think an examination of the specifics of these at least 56 cases against the actions and lack of actions against specific officers is absolutely essential both to the sense of justice and equally important for the sense of assuring the parents and the young, extraordinarily bright women that we welcome to these military academies and in this case of course the Air Force Academy will not be subjected to this. So I certainly want to look forward to the developments in that case.
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But the one question just for my own edification because I was not able to follow all the hearing yesterday. Your comments about this investigation, Mr. Secretary, were not, and this is not a criticism, it is really just a question, were not part of your testimony yesterday, is that true? This is a new development that you stated
Secretary ROCHE. Yes sir. In fact the position I have taken, or that we had taken to this date is if you look at the climate of the Academy it is very hard to understand where to place the blame. The 56 cases are over a ten year period. What struck us so much as being the officers who were already commissioned telling us which places in many years, a good six or more years in the past.
Where do you start, how do you just take the current leadership and hold them accountable for the past was the difficulty if it is just a climate issue. It is very clear in talking to the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that they still yearn for a deeper look and we took their point. And said if that is the case then the way to distinguish over this period of at least ten years and you can in fact go back further.
I mean what the horrifying data points to Mr. Chairman, is that from 1976 to 1992 there are nono reports of sexual assault. Yet we have both talked to officers who were there in that period of time who were assaulted. So you can even go back further. But of the ten year period that is a matter to have a sense to both be able to come back formally with investigative material is to say were any either current commandants, superintendent, their predecessors, maybe their predecessor's predecessors, were they made more aware of things such that they should have done more than they did, point A.
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And point B, did they by either advertently or inadvertently put additional barriers or create new barriers in the way of cadets who wanted to come forward by the way things were done with respect to amnesty, or is this legal ruling that they cannot tell a cadet what is involved and to get it dispassionately looked at so that it could be reviewed?
If I may touch on two other points you raised sir. With regard to outside people, the new rulesfor the vice commandant that we are prescribing require that the vice commandant in fact maintain those relationships and deals with those outsiders.
Just as we are trying to accumulate now a list of area experts, for instance we want to find the best mentoring advocates in the United States, who have done things with companies, etc. There are people who deal with domestic violence and a lot of that involves sexual assault, as part of the Justice Department we are accumulating that so that we can provide to the new leadership of the Academy, resources.
The confidentiality issue is one that is very interesting. We can provide privacy and here the definition of terms becomes important. Confidentially says if you tell me something I cannot use it at all.
Privacy, which we do provide under the Inspector Generals Act, says that if you tell me something we will protect you, your identity, et cetera unless there is a crime committed and we have to prosecute a crime. So in other words, for official uses we can make use of information.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have found that one of our problems is by allowing the cadets to go into a system that was outside the chain of command, confidentiality is provided but then there was no actionable item to be able to go after the assailant, because if the individual chose not to tell the name of the assailant, we could not go after him.
When we benchmark this against the Naval Academy, they made everything, however the cadet reported it, comes into the chain of command and is taken care of, just as we did any of our Air Force bases. So we offer privacy so that if there is a crime, we can prosecute the crime as compared to confidentiality which says we will use nothing that you have told us.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well that is why I dropped out of law school after ten days I suppose. But we have to work this out, and I do not in any way minimize the challenge but it is a serious issue and whether it is privacy to meet the legal semantics or confidentiality, the overriding concern is trust in the system.
And obviously currently that is certainly lacking if not totally absent. But I thank you for your candid response and for your response to, your appearance yesterday before the Senate.
With that I yield to the acting ranking member Ms. Sanchez.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you Mr. Chairman. I have three areas of information gathering that I would like to talk with you gentlemen about. The first one, what is causing this or how is this happening in the institution? The second one is the whole issue of process, what do we have to change so that we can get the results that we want?
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But I am really troubled by the first because the first is, I heard some comments out of Mr. Secretary in particular where you talked about academy students having loyalty to fellow students versus loyalty to the institution. That is a very troubling issue because this about a criminal behavior.
And so that is a, how you change that is significantly more difficult than what process you use to catch these people who are assaulting. I mean it really speaks loads about the value of our institution if our own students do not value it above their buddy. It is a major, major problem if you really take a look at it that way.
It is also troubling because it sort of goes along with this whole issue of female officers having come up to you years later and saying let me tell you my story. Because again, it is embedded in this, this has been going on for a long time.
And if they are there, and we can maybe assume, let's assume that if we look at the way things are treated now where it almost seems like the victim is the one that gets purged to a certain extent and the person doing the sexual assault is allowed to remain within this institution and keep moving forward, then I have got to look around at some of my officers and think which one of these is left over from 15 years ago of doing this kind of business.
So it really begins to discredit the institution and the people who are so embedded in our Air Force, our commanding officers possibly. So I guess my question is, how do you intend to change that whole issue of I am going to protect my buddy who is a criminal because that is what rape is, versus having such a love for the institution and doing the right thing. That is the first question
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Secretary ROCHE. Thank you ma'am I could not agree with you more. By the way when we say institution we mean United States Air Force not just United States Air Force Academy. The whole Air Force.
Ms. SANCHEZ. And I say that also.
Secretary ROCHE. And one of the things that has struck us and I will ask General Jumper to touch on this is that our Air Force bases, our activity duty Air Force is far better than this. I mean I had a retired general officer tell me yesterday that he was struck by how many of our women officers who went to the Air Force Academy talked about how much more congenial gender relations were in the Air Force than in the Air Force Academy.
And it bothers us. So we are trying to back down the breed of our Air Force and overlay it on the Air Force Academy, which is why we are going at them to tell them they are not exempt from the rules, they are not above the rules. They are expected to be future officers and they are going to have to compete against a lot of very sharp people and they are going to have to perform and they are going to have toand respect each other.
When you get into the active Air Force, if you are on a mobility aircraft independent of gender, the members of that team, that team goes into combat, every member wants every other member to perform superbly. And they do not want anyone in combat worrying about anything other than the mission. There is a natural sense of mutual respect because there is a mutual dependence.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are in particular going to make this a major issue with the cadets. To keep pounding this on them and pounding it but we are also trying to deal with the academic department, the athletic department, the whole institution to make it more like our Air Force than it has been in the past.
But it will take a great deal of time. And I do not believe that we fix it with any one set of directives, nor does General Jumper. We realize this is something our Air Force has to deal with with regard to the Academy. Now we think we can. It is a matter of making it more like our Air Force.
General JUMPER. Ma'am, any command structure at any base at any Air Force has a commander and a first sergeant, and any victim that goes into the chain of command is immediately surrounded by those who advocate for the victim. And at the same time, the misconduct is put into the chain of command to be formally addressed.
Over time, starting back in 1993, there were groups put together that allowed cadets to go to informal groups that put their complaint into this informal system that never got into the chain of command. And therefore, were potentially were never properly addressed. What we have to do is make sure that the protections and the victim advocacy at the Air Force Academy reflects the same system that we have out there in the Air Force day in and day out.
Also with regard to loyalty, you take a bomber crew or a crew on an airlift aircraft or a crew on any aircraft, that crew has bonding, it has pride, it goes into combat, they depend on each other for their very survival and their very lives.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If any one of them perform in a substandard way, the first ones that are going to identify that and fix that and root that out are the other members of the crew, before any outsider comes in to make a judgment on that. Why? Because their very lives depend on that. It is therelationship, it is the brother-sister relationship, it is a relationship that should be the way that guides our attitudes at the Air Force Academy.
This has happened. This positive attitude has been prevalent at the Air Force Academy over most of its life. And so what we will do is make sure that our Air Force leaders take advantage of the opportunity to visit the Academy often, to speak to this, to put it in realistic terms, to make sure that the alumni return and again speak of the importance of this in their careers and we can draw on a very, very, very distinguished group of graduates from the Air Force Academy that include astronauts, professional athletes, leaders in our Air Force to include former chiefs of staff, et cetera that can continue to talk these values to our cadets and put them in real terms and make the sort of contact in ways that we probably have not done enough of in the past ma'am.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Well again I would reiterate that I see a big difference here talking about when, after an event occurs and what you do in the process you use to handle is quite different than why do you allow these things to happen.
What is in the mix that is making our airmen, potential airmen, think it is more important to protect their buddy than to report them for the protection of the institution and the body that they ultimately have decided they want to make a career with.
And I think that is a much more difficult thing to address but it is something that we need to address because we do not want to have to address this in the process after an assault has taken place. We want to handle it before it ever gets to that point.
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Secretary ROCHE. Completely agree with you ma'am.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Again I think that is difficult. And I would just ask, I spoke in my opening statement about these GAO reports that talked to the issue of sexual harassment, which is the beginning stages of what if left unaddressed ends up with sexual assault. Because it tells people that it is an acceptable thing to be happening.
Do you know about these-I talked about no routine systematic evaluations of sexual harassment programs and how they were working. Can you give me an update of what is going on with them and whether you have implemented that or whether that is not in place and how that is working, or are you not prepared to talk about that
Secretary ROCHE. My sense Ms. Sanchez is that the GAO report was done in 1994, 1995
Ms. SANCHEZ. Yes, it was done 1994 and then
Secretary ROCHE. Regrettably it was long forgotten. There have been attempts to do surveys at the Academy but that is not the same thing. We also were struck once we got into this with the sense of you have to come from the outside to audit this institution. And the reason we just picked every third year was to ensure that it was not hitting a point when you had four years of the cadets who may never see a review.
I do not know of any major evaluations of this. It is something we wish to implement. It is an issue that we will be taking up with the Board of Visitors because it should be done. We agree, it should be done. But I have not seen any.
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General JUMPER. Ma'am, there have been climate surveys. The climate surveys are of questionable results with in many cases low return and in some cases done under duress telling the cadets they cannot leave for vacation until they fill out the form and that got just the response that you would except with people going through and just putting all B's down or asking, answering female questions when the male was filling out the form, that sort of thing.
But I agree with the secretary. I do not know of any formal response to this GAO
Secretary ROCHE. And in fact the issue you raise about sexual harassment is something that we are very bothered by. Because it appears that that is kind of faded and the issue is assault. Yet the institution allows for situations where formation, very obscene jokes can be told.
It allows for situations like this offsite with cadets and their faculty putting on a skit that is absolutely offensive and would be offensive. There are basic things that in companies you just would never get there. It would never happen, that are not present there that have to become present there.
We think having a better distribution of the Air Officers Commanding, the commissioned officers who are in charge of the squadrons typically at the captain or major level and more senior non commissioned officers who are themselves have a gender distribution more like our Air Force that we have to put enough people in place so as to start with just basic behaviors that have to do with off colored comments towards women, and start there.
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And again, respect performance, independent of gender and independent of race or alma mater. Get back to the performance of the individual. Because that is what counts when you go into combat. That is the only thing that counts.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you Mr. Secretary. In light of the fact that I have gone over my time Mr. Chairman I have other questions but I will submit them for the record. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentlelady. I yield to the gentleman from Oklahoma, the vice Chairman, Mr. Cole.
Mr. COLE. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. What an incredibly sad and disappointing day I am sure for you more than us even. Just a few questions gentlemen if I may. Do you have any reason, Mr. Secretary, to believe that any previous secretary or, General Jumper, any previous chief of staff was aware of the scope of these kinds of allegations.
Secretary ROCHE. I asked my predecessor who is a friend if he was and I asked him to come to my office and talk to me and he was not. Although there was a sense on both his part and in General Ryan's, General Jumpers counterpart, excuse me his predecessor, that there were just things at the Academy that were not right.
When we both took office as I said we both took office within three months of each other, General Ryan as he left asked us would we pay some special attention to the Academy because he did not know what it was but there were things that bothered him. And he in fact started the review of the honor code withPeters, my predecessor. And that led us to start asking more and more questions.
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We thought when we asked questions about this subject that we were told about all the things that were done in 1993. I went back to that superintendent and asked him to explain what had been done, and it sounded all reasonable. But in fact it did not have the first consequences it should have and had unintended second order consequences. But my sense was that you would have to go back to 1993 to find the secretary and the chief of staff who had become aware.
They sincerely believed that what they put in place worked, if only it did more of it. More of a hotline, more independent consulting, more leadership development and character development. All of which are good things, but were clearly not getting at the issue to the point where it emerged the way it did.
General JUMPER. There were clear indications, sir, along the way that steps were being taken to address these gender issues to include the beginning of an institute for character development in 1996, which is a direct response to the 1993 changes that theGeneral made when he was the superintendent. Also General Ryan, my predecessor, I have talked to him certainly about this.
The current Commandant of Cadets was actually placed out there to deal with an emerging, what was perceived to be, an emerging drug problem. And he put in some fairly disciplinary measures to deal with that. And indeed was able to deal with that. But I think we saw that when the secretary and I got this very troubling e-mail in December I believe it was from a young woman, this was our first tip off that anything of this magnitude had taken place and it started us immediately into where we are today.
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Mr. COLE. Would you expect that under normal circumstances this type of information should have reached either of you two gentlemen or your predecessors?
Secretary ROCHE. Boy we have talked about this sir. And we have an Air Force of 700,000. Our sense is that the instincts of General Ryan are quite right. Because this institution reports directly to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, we have not hesitated to put the amount of time required. I have gone out and taught an ethics class, General Jumper has gone out and spoken with cadets. I have spoken to cadets, the faculty. We have tried to make the Air Force ownership of this institution quite clear.
In my case I found it interesting. It was as if I was from Mars when I first started to deal with them. I was from some world that they were not particularly interested in and even though we have got to their curriculum review, there was a sense of well that is a nice idea and maybe. It had to be no, not maybe, this place has to change. And I do not think any of our predecessors have ever spent the time or the attention to the Academy that we have, to be honest.
Mr. COLE. A couple more questions if I may. Obviously when something like this happens it is an indictment really of the leadership as much as it is of what goes on at the Academy, and you mentioned, Mr. Secretary, in your opening remarks that you were going back very diligently to find out what had happened really along the chain of command so to speak.
And I would just really urge you to do that. Because I think clearly as the Chairman mentioned in his remarks, there was some breakdown someplace beyond the Academy. Just in terms of people knowing what they needed to know and being in a position to take action. Have you gentlemen taken any actions to make sure that anyone who does come forward with information suffers no career repercussions, because clearly there is a fear of that.
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Secretary ROCHE. Oh yes sir. A major part of what we are doing to fix this is to deal with an individual such that if she comes forward, the vice commandant will be acting in addition to their regular duties as the omnibudsman.
We are going to staff the vice commandants office with an attorney with an investigator not to do investigations, but for both of them to be able to assist the victim to make sure the victim understands what does it take to prove a crime. What are the steps they have to go forward. What are the alternatives.
And we want that same team to make sure the victim is kept informed as things go forward. It may be that there is insufficient evidence to take something to a trial, that happens quite often. In a number of cases, the current administration there sought whatever they could, if they could not get a trial to administratively deal with an individual to disenroll them.
They made use of a polygraph whenever there was a very complex situation they would ask the accused if he would be willing to be polygraphed. And a number of them were, and a number of them passed.
We are going to try and surround the victim with enough support and to include holding the cadet officers of the squadrons personally responsible for any shunning, or any ostracism of a victim. So that we make it clear that the victim is doing a service to our Air Force. Not just for justice for herself but if she can identify a criminal, then we want that criminal out. And we are trying to make that point.
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General JUMPER. Sir if I might just add. The exception that the secretary has made clear to that would be false accusation. Where we would most certainly prosecute a false accusation. We have had instances of that too.
Mr. COLE. I would hope you would. One final question
Mr. MCHUGH. I have to, I am sorry, gentleman. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. COLE. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. I want to try to get theI appreciate the gentleman's understanding. Just briefly for the members. Apparently for those of us who have sat here before we are used to seeing the yellow light come on when there is one minute left, that is not functioning. So just to help people understand where they are in their timeframe on the light system I will try to gently tap my gavel to let you know that one minute is remaining and because of the numbers here I am afraid we are going to have to strictly adhere to that because we do have votes coming up. So I appreciate everybody's understanding.
I would be happy to yield to the ranking member of the subcommittee the gentleman from Arkansas Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you Mr. Chairman. General Jumper you made a couple of very strong statements earlier that this was not an Air Force wide problem and I think I agree with you. But I recall 20 years ago I was invited by a women I work with at a hospital to drop by and see her family some Saturday afternoon.
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Went out to this lovely home in the country and met her husband, met these two lovely daughters and they had baby goats and they had baby ducks and they had baby rabbits and they were just a wonderful family.
Several months later, the father was on the run because the teenage daughters finally went to mom as they got older and said that they had been raped for years, he ran to Europe and finally killed himself when law enforcement came in.
So my question is, what I learned from that is, you cannot go by pictures. How do you make such a strong statement that this is not Air Force wide. Do you do surveys, surveys of women, how do you know there are not problems out there at some of your bases.
General JUMPER. Sir as I said there is an advocacy, a victim advocacy atmosphere out there that I think works very well. And we have a very strong inspector general system so that if satisfaction is not obtained from the chain of command, we have a very active inspector general system where a victim can go right to the Inspector General.
We have a chaplain process which takes in people and listens to them through the medical facilities. There are many entry points in the Air Force, but I do have confidence that the process we have in our chain of command does work.
And this does not mean there are zero instances sir as you well know. What it does mean is that from the evidence we do have now, and I never underestimate our capacity to be surprised here, but the processes we have now and from the data that we have now it seems to be that victims in the Air Force are generally satisfied to come into their chain of command and have these situations dealt with.
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Dr. SNYDER. General Jumper a lot of the focus for good reason the last several months has been on sexual assault, but an atmosphere of disrespect contrary to what you all advocate having to do with mutual respect when you are talking about gender discrimination towards women, may not at all be sexual.
I mean to me, when it says bring me men, the corollary is bring me men because we do not want your women. There is no sexual content to that. I have talked to some older women doctors who have said men would come up behind them in medical school class 30 years ago and say why do not you go home you are taking the place of a man. Well that is not a sexual assault but it certainly is discrimination.
So you have got apparently 56 cases over ten years and if you double or triple that I do not know what you get to. But to me they are like roaches. For every case of sexual assault I would think that this climate atmosphere, six cases a year does not create a climate. There has to be something more out there in terms of incidents that do not even come close to rising to the level of illegality but clearly are contrary to this attitude of mutual respect.
My question is, in order to counteract that and your goal of mutual respect is a noble one, how do you measure progress with regard to creating atmosphere of mutual respect? One of your statements talks about measurable objectives. What are going to be the measurable objectives with regard to creating the atmosphere of mutual respect?
General JUMPER. Sir I think it is going to take some time to find out what is measurable and what is not. What we can do right away and with the class that is about to become the senior class is place upon them the burden of responsibility for making sure that this climate and this atmosphere is cleaned up.
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And to put into the cadet living areas a greater presence by the officers and the NCO's who we have stationed at the Academy to be able to monitor the situations where this disrespect has been reported in the past. And this includes cadet formations where we have heard that, this is anecdotal of course, but we have heard that inappropriate jokes have been told, inappropriate remarks to females, etc. so that we can monitor more closely the minute to minute lives of the cadets.
There also has to be an atmosphere of trust, so if we are expecting these cadets to act like adults then there has got to be some responsibility that they take for themselves to police themselves. And this is where the cadet leadership becomes involved.
Because the cadet leadership is with these formations and with these cadets in their squadrons day in and day out virtually every minute of the day. It is this level of responsibility that has to field the burden. How we specifically go in and measure those I think is going to have to evolve over time, but we got to do the first step first sir.
Dr. SNYDER. A quick question about loyalty, we have heard references to loyalty to the institution versus loyalty to the cadets. But this is a situation, this is not Members of Congress rallying around for each other versus some bad press corps., this is cadets choosing one group of cadets over the other. So is it loyalty to the institution, loyalty to cadets or loyalty to the male cadets?
Secretary ROCHE. Quite often it can be loyalty to a sub group as you point out. What it is not is loyalty to the values of the institution. Yet in our active force, if a pilot in a squadron of other pilots sees something that is not right that could effect how the team will act in combat, there is no hesitation to come forward.
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General JUMPER. Certainly loyalty to criminals that we know are criminals is not acceptable as Ms. Wilson pointed out.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentlemen. Now the gentlelady from California Ms. Tauscher.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, General. I am impressed by your connection and your articulation of the issue about values. What concerns me is that, or what I actually think is pretty clear, is that there is a sense of rewarding for a certain kind of elitism. And I think, I believe what you are saying, I think that you believe that the Air Force in and of itself is populated by good people who have strong values.
But we have unfortunately an Academy of elitists who believe that they have a separate set of rules. Now perhaps that is not just the bad news, perhaps it is a fact. Perhaps because they understand that is how the game is played.
I can remember the first couple of months at college when you come with a sense of the way things are supposed to be then you realize how things are. And I think what we have here is departure from what we want versus the way things are. And I think perhaps what you have in an elitist organizations, we have them everywhere, is people figuring out how to get ahead. And how to get ahead and those that get ahead are basically leaders that are followed by others. And even in elite groups you have packs of people that become leaders and followers.
And I think that this is a pox on our house if we do not understand how to bring it back to these values, move it away from personalities and or sexual gender, which would be male by the way. And move it to the values where there is no discrimination of gender.
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And make this very clearly and very apparent that this is the road to success and that there will be zero tolerance for all of the manifestations of that whether it is dirty jokes or kind of laughing and going along getting along, whether it is following the big dog or this is how the game is played.
I think we have to have a very clear articulation that there is a new game. And that the game is a game of values. And that the measurement of the values will be in the performance of the people and you will actually choose your path by the people you follow, not the big dog necessarily but the dog that is actually doing what is right.
Now speaking of new dogs, the leadership that you have chosen, the new leadership for the Academy, I have read their pedigrees obviously very well picked people, good officers. But how did you pick them. And what was the criteria to pick them and if I were them, I would be going for counseling right now. I would be trying to figure out what I did wrong to get the job.
But perhaps we need to get them actually immersed in some new skill sets and some counseling. To be sure that buzzsaw that they are walking into is something that does everybody good and does not cause them to be so consumed about this issue that they actually cannot do the 17 other jobs they are supposed to do. So if you could just talk to me about those things.
Secretary ROCHE. Yes ma'am be glad to and thank you for your statements, I absolutely agree. But you know, what is interesting is when we see our enlisted groups which are about the same age, they go through a basic training and we do not have or at least we cannot see this problem and we worry about it. We worry about what happens when they deploy, et cetera. We see a relationship that is very supportive of performance independent of gender.
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This does not mean that we do not have problems ma'am. We do. But the first sergeant is the senior enlisted have long ago bought into performance. Specifically to how we chose people. We interviewed a lot. And with regards to the new superintendent we wanted someone who was clearly a figure that the cadets would look to and admire, who absolutely agreed with us.
There were a number of candidates that were all very strong. We told them every wart, we told them how unhappy we were, we told them their career was going to be on the line, and we asked if they and their spouse would volunteer. And they did, and we picked a good, tough guy.
With respect to the commandant, same thing, interviewed, made sure that they recognized what their spouse would have to go through, chose an officer who had gone to the Academy. When we asked for a superintendent we were open and again found an officer who felt that this situation was tarnishing his reputation as well as all the other graduates and he is willing to take on this task.
In terms of the vice commandant, we approached a couple of women, one in particular and we asked her if she could really put up with this. She was one of the focus group, we had a focus group go over each of our recommendations in what we call room style. There are some they changed, some they told us we were crazy and they are gone, and the ones that are there are ones that they approved.
These were women officers from captain to general and this woman accepted the responsibility it, surprised me. The fourth woman is in Europe and I did not have a chance to interview, but General Jumper knows her well and she is a cop, she knows how to deal with people and I cannot believe she is going to hear anything that she is not heard before ma'am.
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General JUMPER. Also ma'am, the top two officers have worked for me personally and command responsibilities of large organizations. I have seen them in action and they have my confidence and they understand what I mean about honesty and integrity and values.
Mr. MCHUGH. Time for the gentlelady has expired. Next, I yield to a member of the subcommittee, gentleman from Georgia Dr. Gingrey.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Secretary Roche, General Jumper. I am shocked really to hear this report and of course not only are you giving us mea culpa's you are giving us mea maxima culpa's I guess really before the final report is done, so you must be seeing some things preliminarily that would allow you to do that, and it would suggest that things are rotten to the core, no pun intended. And it, I am totally shocked.
But I did want to ask you a couple of questions about the percentages, 56 cases over the last ten years. I would like for you to maybe just aggregate that for us as we come forward to the present time in respect to numbers. And also in regard, there was some mention about the athletic program at the Academy. What percentage of these cases possibly involve student athletes and then finally how many of these cases actually led to prosecution and conviction.
Secretary ROCHE. Yes sir if I could get the details to the subcommittee for the record so I do not say something that is mistaken. The 56 cases of sexual assaultthat ranges the whole range, from accusations of rape, two accusations of unwanted touching, so it is the whole gamut over the period. Probably the greatest concentration is in 1993 and 1994 and it somewhat bounces around over the years.
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But again as Dr. Snyder pointed out, those are the cases that have been reported. Separately through the counseling service, there are 100 and some telephone calls but their records were simply not kept. And we do not know where there is duplication, we do not know to what degree that some of these are incidents associated with a cadet who goes home and has a difficulty at home we do not know.
We know of the 56 there were a number of assaults on civilians. We know in three of the 56 cases the individual cadets recanted, said it did not happen, for whatever reason they had come forward and then they withdraw and say it really did not happen.
We know that in one case something occurs off the campus in another city and the police are involved. The local district attorney chooses not to prosecute the Academy, the current administration believes that the Uniform Code of Military Justice severely was violated, prosecutes, puts the cadet into jail.
It appears that whenever they could accumulate evidence to go to a trial they did. In the cases where they did not, if it appears from the information that came forward that the accused did enough other things that administratively we did not want him in our Air Force, they disenrolled him. It appears in other cases when there was just no evidence to go forward that they could not do anything but you tend to see them trying to go forward whenever they could.
With regard to the numbers who are intercollegiate athletes, we have not accumulated those data that I am aware of, although General Counsel may have done it because it was raised once before. So far that we know it is only a few. One of the problems we are seeing is with some recent reports that things may get taken care of in and among the athletes by themselves in yet a separate life. And we want that brought into the Academy. But there is a very good thing amongst some of the athletes. They are on a team, there is a lot of protection of the men for their sisters because it is like combat, they want to win, and they do not want their team members to be thinking about anything other than winning. So there is some good that also occurs in intercollegiate athletics.
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General JUMPER. If I could add sir again with the athletics, there were indications and this is part of a larger cultural look, there were indications that athletes on probation, the probationary information was not shared between the athletic department and the commandant's department and the military department. There are sort of traditions that have risen up that say that intercollegiate athletes train all year around.
Again I think that it is important that the athletes participate in the professional military training to at least some extent as part of their training at the Academy. In many cases this was not being done. One of the proposals is that we put the athletic director under the commandant of cadets so that the purpose of the academy is clearly evident to all.
Mr. MCHUGH. Time of the gentleman has expired. Next according to committee rules by being in the room prior to the gavel, the gentlelady from New Mexico, Ms. Wilson.
Ms. WILSON. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary there was a recent review by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) looking at rape and sexual assault over the last four decades among members of the military. One of the things they found was that half of the women in the service who had served at that time did not know how to report or where to get treatment. In your review of the circumstances at the Academy did you find anything similar?
Secretary ROCHE. No ma'am. The interesting thing is that the awareness of cadets in how to contact the Cadets Advocating Sexual Integrity and Education (CASIE) system especially was quite high. Now a number of them did not want to do that, one of the things that we have to do is to educate all of the cadets and we will do it annually and in fact do what is done in many corporations as you know require cadets to certify that they have received these instructions on what is expected of them, how to deal with something if something arises to ensure that every cadet has that information cannot say I am sorry I did not know about that. We want to make sure of that.
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But currently you see the cadets and especially some of the CASIE volunteers doing some very good things, posting posters around. One that I remember that struck me as quite poignant was ''Date Rape is Not A Date.'' If you have a problem, please call the following number.
I mean they have tried to make sure the cadets had some place to turn. We want to make sure that the cadets have confidence in the chain of command and if they enter the someone at the medical clinic or chaplain or Air Operations Center (AOC) or senior enlisted or any other way that we can as quickly as possible get to that cadet and start to develop the evidence.
Ms. WILSON. I wanted to get at something that my colleague Dr. Snyder mentioned and I think you talked quite a bit about this issue of loyalty to classmates versus loyalty to values. And I think my colleague is actually right. That is not the conflict. It is not a dilemma between loyalty to classmates and loyalty to values and frankly I think you would both agree that we want cadets and officers to be loyal to their classmates, to cover their wing man to make sure that everybody makes it. All of those things you want to instill in them.
Secretary ROCHE. Yes.
Ms. WILSON. But the problem is loyalty to some classmates and not to others.
Secretary ROCHE. We absolutely agree ma'am. And it gets back to the whole question, not a climate that promotes reporting a criminal act but a climate in which those criminal acts do not occur in the first place. Or that they are less likely to occur because the little things, the niggling little remarks, the attitude and environment is not tolerated by the cadets themselves.
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General JUMPER. Exactly.
Secretary ROCHE. Yes, ma'am.
Ms. WILSON. And that is much more difficult to get at and I do not think you have adequately done it yet. And I understand this is a work in progress, it is the first white sheets on the wall with the first look at them, but with respect to climate, there is a lot in here about procedures and there is less in here about how you get to a culture in which a, when there is a disparaging remark about a 4th class woman, a first class cadet says we do not do that here.
That creates an environment where assault is less likely to happen. And I would encourage you to take the next step and to take this in a further revision with some outside help to get to where we need to be.
I do have one final set of questions, one final question, and I do have a few minutes and that has to do with some of the bells and whistles. Or what I call bells and whistles, things that are not related, I do not, I do not understand maybe you can help me, how graduate school, cross commissioning, pilot training spots or date of rank has anything in God's green earth to do with sexual assault at the Air Force Academy.
Secretary ROCHE. I do not know if I can convince you, I believed and General Jumper and our focus group believe that a number of these have to do with a larger culture. With respect to, let me just take one as an example ma'am. Thelist. It turns out that the cadet of the year for the last two years has been an ROTC cadeta womanin both years. Yet by the way we have donelist she will have a lower seniority than the poorest performer at the Air Force Academy. And we thought that was wrong. To make
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Ms. WILSON. Let me be more specific. I am reading here, how every, under this guidance as I read this, cadets at the Air Force Academy will no longer be able to apply for Rhodes scholarships
Secretary ROCHE. No, ma'am that is not correct at all
Ms. WILSON [continuing]. Law school, medical school, liberal arts, graduate schools, or functional career fields will no longer be a first assignment.
Secretary ROCHE. Rhodes scholars specifically came up and we would actually want to have cadets compete for Rhodes scholars, et cetera. This is more a matter of trying to adhere, it was for a cadet who enters. So that from day one we try to orient our cadets towards the operational Air Force as much as we possibly can.
We have found too, in our sense, too many of them who are looking to not become operational officers and yet given the investment that we put in them and the caliber of these officers we want them to think more on operational terms.
We had no intention of trying to deflect someone from going to a Rhodes Scholar program. We are more concerned about the cadet who graduates, goes to a university, gets a degree in English comes back and teaches English and is never really a part of the operational Air Force.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. WILSON. My time has expired, thank you Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentlelady. Esteemed Chairman of the subcommittee on readiness, Mr. Hefley.
Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. Secretary Roche, you have repeatedly said this kind of behavior is intolerable and I think every one of us feel it is absolutely intolerable and what we are trying to do is to get from here to there to make sure everybody understands it is intolerable and understand the seriousness of it and I think the education and the changes you are making I think they are good as far as they go.
But one thing bothers me that I do not see here. And we talked about it personally, but the Air Force Academy has a protocol with the local justice people in I know El Paso County in Colorado Springs that says if the crime is committed on the Air Force Academy, the Air Force Academy deals with it first.
And if you deal with it, you can call it in, but if you deal with it, fine. And that is kind of the way it has traditionally been done. But I, when I am thinking about how do you inject into these cadets the seriousness of this, that you are not violating a regulation, you are, they are committing a crime. You are committing a felony.
And I had the dubious honor of being Chairman of the Ethics Committee in the House of Representatives. That is the internal investigative and enforcement body for behavior for Members of Congress to correspond to your internal Air Force justice system.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And yet the Justice Department, if they think one of us had committed a crime, they could also file charges on it. And an example of this is the Traficant issue that occurred last year, where he was convicted of crimes, he was also charged within our system of justice internally and was expelled from Congress.
I would like for you to speak to the fact why cannot we have both functioning at the same time in your system as well? I know there is probably a reluctance to do that, but if I want them to know this is serious, I would like to have people who make a living every day investigating serious crimes, looking into this. I would like to see the flashing lights outside the dormitory. I would like to see the cadet who is charged based on enough evidence like you would do in a civilian situation, hauled away in handcuffs, put in jail, indicted and brought to trial if they think they have enough evidence to do that, to come back not just have to go to a dormitory, another dormitory.
And I think the other cadets looking out their windows are going to say hey, this is a serious situation. So you may not have captured the hearts of the cadets who want to act like boys will be boys, you may not have captured all their hearts but by gosh you are going to capture their mind if they see that you are not going to tolerate this at all. I think as long as it is strictly an internal process there will always be accusations that something is covered up or swept under the rug. Would you speak to that?
Secretary ROCHE. Yes sir, Congressman Hefley you and I have chatted about this before and I have committed to you that we will follow up on this. As the general counsel is sitting behind me and by the way may I introduce Mr. Chairman the Honorable Mary Walker our General Counsel of the Air Force Academy Air Force.
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We are working, we have both the judge advocate general and Ms. Walker looking at what the protocol is. Again I would benchmark with the Naval Academy, they very much make use of Anne Arundel County in one of the most recent cases that they have had since I am a resident of the town I know it well, was all handled by the Anne Arundel County and it has a salutary effect. It really does. And my sense is that you have a very good idea that we wish to follow up on.
There may be issues of the federal reservation and coming onto the reservation, we will look at those. We will look at what makes sense for the local jurisdiction in that we do not want to impose on them, but if in fact something especially occurring off campus can be dealt with first there, my sense is that would be very, very good. And so we are going to look at it and we will particularly come back to you with where we are and how we stand on that.
Mr. HEFLEY. Well I appreciate this because I think that they need to know that they are not just violating a regulation, I think they need to know that they are violating the laws of Colorado and that Colorado is going to be involved in enforcing their laws on the Air Force Academy as well as anywhere else. And if there is need for legislative recourse I wish you would tell us after you have looked into this. If right now, you cannot let them come onto the Academy to investigate, I do not think that is the case, but if that is the case, than there needs to be a change in the law where that is concerned if you would share that with us we would like to work with you on that.
Secretary ROCHE. Yes sir we will.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HEFLEY. Thank you very much.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman. Gentlelady from California, member of the full committee, Ms. Davis.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you Mr. Chairman. And perhaps in some ways you just addressed my question but from what you have seen, I was interested in knowing the uniqueness of the Air Force Academy perhaps but should we be looking at other academies as well. And what is it that is so different that these numbers have not shown themselves in those academies as well.
Secretary ROCHE. Yes Ma'am I do not know the numbers of the other two academies for a ten year period, they have differed. We have looked at the others. I particularly benchmarked against the Naval Academy, General Jumper has benchmarked against the Virginia Military Institute (VMI).
We have brought together all the service secretaries, all the chiefs of staffs of the services, all the superintendents of the academies, we have shared our preliminary information with them, we have shared all our warts with them, we have shared all the measures that we are going to take because in some cases it will differ from what they do.
For instance at the Naval Academy as we understand it, they will both deal with the crime and award demerits if the individuals were in circumstances they should not be in. We have found in the Air Force Academy that that apparently is a deterrent to coming forward. So we wanted to make sure they knew we were going to do this.
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At one of the academies, if someone provides alcohol to underage cadet or midshipmen it is an infraction. The second time they are disenrolled. We have changed that at the Air Force Academy, first time you are disenrolled.
So in terms of the data why this is emerging now, the other academies have had problems in the past, they have addressed them, it is one of the reasons we wanted to benchmark with them, get them involved and show them what we have done and to take as many best practices as we can from them. So for instance the best practice on the linear list comes from the Navy and the Marine Corps.
Others likeholding the senior cadet present at a function where something goes bad, holding that cadet accountable turns out coincidentally to be exactly what the Naval Academy does. We did it and then found at this meeting with the superintendents that they have found that the same rule applies, because that is something that carries forward to them once they enter into especially the shipboard Navy.
So I do not know if we are different in the university, we are only comparable to the other academies and they all are the first tobut for the grace of God. But we are trying to learn from them, have them learn from us so that this is not a problem that permeates across our services. John?
General JUMPER. Sir I cannot add anything to that ma'am.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Is it 56?
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Secretary ROCHE. Yes Ma'am.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. hot cases have any of those individuals been disenrolled?
Secretary ROCHE. Oh yes ma'am, quite a number. Some have gone to jail, we have had let's see, of the total of 56, two have gone to jail, a number have been disenrolled, we can give you a matrix that shows whenever we could go to trial and there was sufficient evidence to do so we did, it appears.
That is one of the reasons we are asking the Inspector General to look at these, but just by looking at the cases and reading them, all the summaries of them, and in most cases where there was insufficient evidence to go to trial, but there was sufficient evidence that the individual had violated regulations of the Academy the superintendent recommended disenrollment and in almost all cases that happened.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. And the ones who went to jail, is that because that was off campus
Secretary ROCHE. No Ma'am. No Ma'am. In fact the one on campus and the one off campus both went to jail and they go to military jails.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Both in military jails. Okay. Has that had an effect at the Academy?
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Secretary ROCHE. It has not had enough of an effect we do not think Ma'am. But I agree with the comments that have been made by a number of the members that this does not start at sexual assault, it starts much, much earlier and we have got to work that very, very hard so that the male cadets, and this is the point that we have both made, when we have gone out individually to the wing of cadets that this is a problem that the males first and foremost have to solve.
It is just like you cannot hold Jews responsible for anti-Semitism, you hold gentiles responsible. You cannot hold the women responsible for this, we believe that the male cadets have a major responsibility to fix the situation.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. We handle a number of the nominations in our offices. Are there not questions that are asked in those early interviews that send a strong message to the applicants that this is not acceptable behavior?
Secretary ROCHE. Ma'am I do not know. It is a good thing to follow up on. We know we are changing so when they first arrive, what has happened is they have been told things when they first arrive but they are getting a fire hydrant.
What we want to do now is to separate them for a few weeks and intensively teach them. For instance we want young women to know that they can say the word no. In the normalto senior cadet the word no is not supposed to be there, but by golly there are lots of times when they should say no.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. My guess is that perhaps that has not really entered into that discussion or to the interviews and perhaps that is something that really could become part of it.
Secretary ROCHE. It is a good thought ma'am. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. Time of the gentlelady has expired. Next gentlelady from Colorado Ms. DeGette.
Ms. DEGETTE. Thank you. I want to thank both you Mr. Secretary and also general for understanding the depth of the issue that you are dealing with here and the fact that this is not about sex, it is about a violent act against women and also that it is not just about sexual assault, it is about the whole atmosphere at the Academy. I think that is a really good first step and I am gratified to hear both of you saying that. And I really mean that.
I do have a few questions like my colleague Ms. Wilson does about the initial policy, I know you are trying to work on some policies and it is a work in progress, but I have some concerns and I expressed a little bit of that in my opening remarks.
It seems to me that part of the problem you have got at the Air Force Academy is you have got a few bad actors who believe there is really no place for women in the academies and who, and an atmosphere that, a blame the victim atmosphere that has arisen at the Academy so that the victims are afraid to come forward.
And some of the things in this policy I do not think are going to really help solve that. And let me give you a couple of examples and then perhaps you can comment briefly about that.
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This whole issue of segregating the female cadets from the male cadets in thedormitories with the door open policy and all of that, to me that implies that the whole reason we have this rape problem is because there are female cadets, and if you just segregate them away, that will not happen.
First of all, I think that sends the wrong message to that small core of evil doers and second I think it sends a bad message to the women that somehow they have to be segregated and further I do not think it is going to solve the problem because many of these rapes occur either in the middle of the night where someone's not watching or off campus. And I am wondering if you can comment on that.
Secretary ROCHE. Yes Ma'am. It is not segregating, and we may not have expressed ourselves well. The cadets will be together in squadronsthe organization, it is about 120 cadets. And the way the dormitories are laid out is that there are group washrooms. And on a given floor there are typically three men's rooms and one ladies room.
We are trying to have the squadrons lay out the rooms for the women cadets closer to the ladies rooms. Which by the way is standard Air Force instructions for any enlisted or officer mixed gender dormitories that have group bathrooms.
Ms. DEGETTE. Right and I do not necessarily, you know, if I were in the Academy I would like to be near the bathroom too but you do say separate arrangements will be established for female and male cadets upon entering the academy for basic cadet training and then you also do have the rooms put together, as if that might solve some problem.
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Secretary ROCHE. again a lot these are individual things which we hope when taken collectively do two things. One try to address the larger issue, and two communicate to the wing of cadets that we are so serious we will go down to specifics. The initial segregation
Ms. DEGETTE. Excuse me, you do not actually think that segregating the women in basic training or putting them near the bathrooms is going to solve the problem of sexual assault in and of itself?
Secretary ROCHE. Oh, absolutely not, ma'am. And by the way these recommendations come from women officers who are themselves graduates of the Academy who point out that that is how the circumstances were when they were there and they think they should come back.
Ms. DEGETTE. Let me ask you
Ms. WILSON. Would the gentlewoman yield?
Ms. DEGETTE. I would be happy to yield to my colleague.
Ms. WILSON. Mr. Secretary with respect to basic training it was only the class of 1980 that segregated women. And from then on they have been integrated in their squadrons. If you are going to separate them during basic training I think you are going to let the women lose a lot.
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Secretary ROCHE. Yes ma'am. May I address that. We do not wish to separate them for all of basic training ma'am. We are talking about the very, very early week or two, that is the only time and then we want to get them into their squadrons as soon as possible and then they move to thethe normalby the time fall arrives. It is not for the entire summer ma'am.
Ms. DEGETTE. But reclaiming my time, that is exactly the point that I am making is that by segregating them even in the very early stages it implies that there is something about having women and men in the military that would cause sexual assault. And I mean I think you should revisit that and let me just ask one more question.
Are you changing the reporting system on the rape hotline so it is not going to be volunteer cadets anymore. I understand that that is a difference with the other service academies. And that is part of the problem with the whole chilling affect on the current female cadets at the Academy.
Secretary ROCHE. We are having the counseling center no longer report to a department of behavioral sciences but report to the vice commandant directly. We would like to have professional officer counselors there which is what the other academies do. The degree to which they can be assisted by cadet volunteers is one to be determined.
We have seen some believe it is very good, some believe it can be quite bad. Sometimes an individual counselor believing that he is doing the right thingin one case for instance, protected a young female every weekend by having her come to his home in Colorado so she would not have any opportunity to be prayed upon by another male cadet.
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When General Jumper and I come upon this story our sense was we want to know who that male cadet is and we want to prosecute, not protect this one woman from him because if we commission him, what is he going to do someplace else. So that is the downside, that is why we want things to be part of the chain of command ma'am.
Ms. DEGETTE. Thank you very much.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank the gentle lady. I yield to the gentlelady from California, Ms. Sanchez for the purposes of the unanimous consent request.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you Mr. Chairman, I would like unanimous content to put forward for a question on the record for Congresswoman Betty McCollum one of our colleagues.
[The information referred to can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. Without objection, so ordered. To my colleagues we have according to our countvotes coming up in just a matter of minutes so I think in terms of fairness because we have gotten through everyone who was kind enough to attend here today we will call an end to the hearing.
I do want to note for the record the gentleman from New York, Mr. Fossella, was here for the entire hearing and knowing Vito as I do I know this is an area of deep concern for him although it is not amongst his committee assignments.
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Gentlemen, thank you for being here. It would be pathetically redundant for me to say how much all of us are concerned and I feel confident you are as well. The mention that I made earlier about the need to work this document consistently as it goes along I think was evident both in the questions and as well to your responses.
All of us who had the honor of nominating America's young men and women who are the brightest of the bright need to be able to look those, particularly the young women, but young men too and their parents in the eye and feel confident that it is indeed an honor and that we are sending them to what the Air Force Academy has been and should still be, one of the finest institutions of higher education and certainly one of the finest breeders of distinguished officers for our United States Air Force and I feel confident you reflect that objective as well.
Just for your edification we certainly will be working with our counterparts in the Senate particularly the Chairman, Mr. Chambliss the former member of this body and a member of this subcommittee especially on the independent review. And that is not necessarily a reflection on either of your two gentlemen's intent but rather a reflection that I think of the need to do everything we possibly can to round out the circle that needs to be completed to restore that faith and trust that you gentlemen have responded here today.
So with our appreciation, our commitment to work with you on our shared objective of doing the right thing here for the Air Force, for this Nation, but most importantly for our female cadets, I will adjourn this hearing.
Secretary ROCHE. Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman we committed to Mr. Chambliss, Senator Chambliss that we would work with our Board of Visitors, come up with a recommendation on the independent review from the Board of Visitors and come back to him and we will come back to you with the same thing anyhow sir.
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Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you Mr. Secretary, thank you Chief.
General JUMPER. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 3:08 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]