SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOC?????
[H.A.S.C. No. 10816]
THE FINAL REPORT OF THE PANEL TO REVIEW SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS AT THE U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY
TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
SEPTEMBER 24, 2003
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York, Chairman
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JIM RYUN, Kansas
ED SCHROCK, Virginia
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
Lynn Henselman, Professional Staff Member
Mary Petrella, Research Assistant
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCElizabeth McAlpine, Staff Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Wednesday, September 24, 2003, The Final Report of the Panel to Review Sexual Misconduct Allegations at the U.S. Air Force Academy
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2003
THE FINAL REPORT OF THE PANEL TO REVIEW SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS AT THE U.S. AIR FORCE 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
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Fowler, Hon. Tillie K., Chairwoman, Panel to Review Sexual Misconduct Allegations at the United States Air Force Academy; Major General Michael Nardotti, Jr., (U.S. Army Retired) and Ms. Anita Carpenter, CEO, Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Inc. and Dr. Laura Miller; General Josiah Bunting; Ms. Anita Carpenter; Colonel John Ripley; and Dr. Sally Satel.
Fowler, Hon. Tillie K.
McHugh, Hon. John M.
Miller, Hon. Candice S.
Snyder, Hon. Vic
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted.]
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Questions submitted.]
THE FINAL REPORT OF THE PANEL TO REVIEW SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS AT THE U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Total Force Subcommittee,
Washington, DC, Wednesday, September 24, 2003.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:10 p.m., in Room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John M. McHugh (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN M. MCHUGH, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM NEW YORK, CHAIRMAN, TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE
Mr. MCHUGH. We will call the subcommittee hearing to order. As a point of information, we expect votes to be calledtwo votes here, very shortly. But we thought because of the rather long day that our distinguished panel has already spent, we should at least try to get some of the formalities out of the way.
So let us begin with some opening statements. And hopefully, we can facilitate to the substance of today's hearing. And I certainly want to welcome everyone here today, particularly our distinguished panelists.
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And we deeply, deeply appreciate their being here. As I mentioned, they had a rather long session with our good colleagues in, as we say, the other body this morning. And to do two at once truly is above and beyond the call of duty.
So if there was a medal we could give you, we would. But in lieu of that, we just deeply appreciate your presence here today.
Today's hearing is an opportunity to review and assess the final report that is issued by today's panel, the Panel to Review Sexual Misconduct Allegations at the United States Air Force Academy. This congressionally-chartered panel, chaired by the distinguished former representative from Florida, the Honorable Tillie Fowler, is here today to help the subcommittee better understand their findings related to issues of sexual misconduct, particularly as they relate to the recent events at the Air Force Academy. And we are especially concerned about the panel's recommendations and suggested strategies for prevention and intervention with respect to future abuses.
Let me state that it is obviously a grave tragedy when any human being is subjected and becomes a victim to acts of sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape. It becomes even more disturbing when female cadets at an institution like the Air Force Academy, an institution considered a center of excellence with standards of performance exceedingwe hopeother American institutions of higher education and a model for developing leaders for our Nation and individuals of outstanding character, failed to provide a safe and healthy environment for our young people.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have learned this year from Air Force testimony and reports that there were countless failures at the academy that promoted an atmosphere of mistrust of the academy leadership by many female cadets. Many times, this mistrust left abuses unreported by female cadets for fear of inaction or even worsereprisal from the academy leadership.
We also learned there were a number of red flags raised regarding abuses that went unnoticed or ignored by academy officials over a ten-year period. In March these findings, along with numerous others, prompted the Air Force to issue its Agenda for Change, a series of preliminary efforts to improve the safety and security of every cadet and regain the trust and confidence of the American people in the academy itself.
In addition to the review of sexual misconduct and the polices that affect it and those issues I have mentioned, the Air Force Inspector General (IG) and the Inspector General for the Department of Defense (DOD) are conducting their own investigations of individual allegations of sexual crimes at the academy. The IG for the Department of Defense is also investigating allegations that female cadets suffered reprisal for reporting abuses.
To broaden the focus, the DOD IG is also completing systemic reviews of sexual assault issues at all of the service academies. These efforts continue to have this subcommittee's attention, our support and we anticipate receiving their reports later this year. Today, we will look forward to hearing the panel's findings regarding the adequacy of the Air Force and DOD efforts to review these initiatives, to date.
However, the subcommittee is especially interested in the findings and recommendations that this esteemed group of experts brings from their review. And I say this in light of the panel's extensive expertise in social science, academics, leadership, substance abuse, victim advocacy and military matters.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
More importantly, this subcommittee expects that the leadership of the Air Force will use the panel's recommendations to develop, institute and sustain effective solutions for improving the Air Force Academy environment. The continuing confidence of the American people that the academy is developing leaders of character demands no less.
And finally, I earnestly believe that leadership should and must be held accountable for the failures that occurred at the academy. The Air Force has taken several actions to do this. But I am particularly interested in hearing from the panel what improvements are needed to ensure that there is no future lapse in accountability.
And before I turn the microphones over to my colleagues, let me thank this panel. I have read this report. And I would highly recommend it to anyone who has even a passing interest. And I think it is a remarkable piece of work, given the very short time and limited resources you had available to you.
And as I understand, the pay was not particularly good either.
This is a very, very serious subject. I hope the American people believe that those of us on this subcommittee and those of us in this Congress believe it. But if the American public reads this report, they will certainly come to the conclusion that you believe it. And we deeply appreciate that.
And let me say to my former colleague and my current continuing friend, Tillie Fowler, how happy I am to see her again. Tillie and I came to this town in the same class. We served on this committee together.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
She, as she always did, kept her promise to her constituents, one I am sure her constituents wished she had never made, about limiting herself. And she kept her word. And she voluntarily left this Congress.
It was a loss for the American people. It was a loss for the men and women in uniform. It was a loss to this committee. It was a personal loss because I do not get to see her as much as I used to. But it was a real testament to the honor and the credibility of the gentlelady from Florida.
So Tillie, it is good to see you again. And thank you for your leadership on this issue.
So before we get to the panel, let me defer and yield to my colleague and leader on this subcommittee, the gentleman from Arkansas, Dr. Snyder.
[The prepared statement of Mr. McHugh can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. VIC SNYDER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM ARKANSAS, RANKING MEMBER, TOTAL FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I agree with what Chairman McHugh has already discussed. I have also read the report. And I think it is obviously a good piece of work and look forward to the discussion.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I also want to thank all of you for being here. It means all of you had to rush your lunch between the end of the 1:20 Senate hearing and gettingI ran into them in the hallway at Longworth. And it was like a boot camp thingeat a big lunch and then go do running exercises.
But we appreciate all of you being here and appreciate your commitment. We talk about beginnings and ends. And I think, somewhere in the writings, there is a reference to this report being the beginning of doing something.
Well, in my view, this is all part of many beginnings and probably many ends. But part of the transition that has gone on for a lot of years in this country of expanding opportunity for women and also, the expanding opportunity for our military to use the most valuable resource we have, which is Americansall Americans, including women.
And I think this report is a good step forward. And I look forward to the discussion.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Snyder can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman. And to repeat, I particularly appreciate his leadership and concern on this issue.
As we can hear, the bells are ringing. But we are still young enough, we can get there in ten minutes. So maybe I could defer to my colleagues and they will tell methe gentleman from Massachusetts, home of the Boston Red Sox, Mr. Meehan.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MEEHAN. As Ms. Fowler will attest to, also the home of the New England Patriots. We have had some good times in Jacksonville together, watching football.
I think the points have been made. I am delighted the panel is here. Thank you for your work.
I am, like I am sure you are, outraged by much of the contents included, including the systematic mistreatment of cadet officers. I am concerned about the culture.
And changing a culture in any institution is really difficult to do. And I think it is going to be important for members of this committee and the Congress to recognize the fact that you do not change a culture unless you are very tough and persevere.
Because they can change every rule and regulation they want. But a culture is a very difficult thing to change.
Also, the report indicates that the Air Force general counsel and the way they handled their responsibility, I think this is an important area for this subcommittee and for this Congress. And again, you do not change a culture unless we all decideas members of this committee and members of the Congresswe are going to be damn sure that we change it.
And I look forward to hearing your testimony.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank the gentleman.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Next member of the subcommittee who was here at the gavel, the gentlelady from California, Ms. Sanchez, who has been a leader and very concerned member on this issue.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the interest of time, I will just say a couple of brief remarks.
Welcome back to Tillie Fowler, who was a great member of this committee. And we appreciate the work that you and all of the panel members did because I believe it is important work. And I think every member here believes so.
I have been following this, as you know. And I will be very interested in getting firsthand knowledge from you.
I have read the report. And I guess the biggest question I have in my mindand since I received this report yesterday and I have been reading and I have been trying to think about itis this whole issue of the culture change and how we get to that.
And I guess it is a little bit difficult to fathom when you read things like these cadets saying things like: ''Even with women in the armed forces, they should not be at the military academies,'' or ''Women are worthless and should be taken away from this academy.''
You know, I wonder how you change the minds of these young people when you already have 17 percent of them being women. And yet one in five of the males at these academies are saying, ''We do not even want women here.''
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So I would be very interested in your insight as you go through it, really to the whole basic issue of: how do we change this so that we can make it better? And we can also extend that to, I hope, all of our military, if that is a necessity.
So thank you for being here. I am looking forward to your comments.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentlelady. I do not want to shortchange anyone their opportunity to make an opening statement. I know Ms. Tauscher, who also has been a great leader on this issue and deeply concerned, wants to make a statement. If she feels she can do it comfortably here, then I would be happy to yield to her.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I want to commend you on your leadership. It is wonderful to see Tillie Fowler back.
I want to thank the panel. I just want to pick up on something that my colleague from California was saying.
You know, I think that we have been, for the last couple of years, in a world where we understand that, in order to connect the dots, you need a lot of dots. In this case, it looked like we had a lot of red flags, but no one was looking at the red flags and really taking notice of them.
I do find it appalling that surveys from 1998 to 2001 clearly showed that a disproportional number of the cadetsthe male cadets at the Air Force Academydid not want women to be there. And they were pretty comfortable in saying so to their leadership and that it did not phase anybody to the point where people understood what a red flag that was and what the unintended consequences of not dealing with that would be.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So I thank you very, very much for your leadership, for all of your hard work, for your individual work in different ways. And I look forward to having our conversation and understanding more what we are going to do together.
I thought the report was very, very compelling. And I thank you for your hard work.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you. I thank the gentlelady.
The same expression, extension of courtesy to the gentlelady, the delegate from Guam, Ms. Bordallo. If you wish to make the statement now, but we do have to make a vote.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I appreciate the opportunity to say a few words.
I too am very interested and concerned about this situation. And I look forward to hearing the testimonies from our panelists.
Mr. MCHUGH. Because the other two membersand we are very, very happy they are here, Ms. Davis and also the gentlelady from the great State of New Mexico, Ms. Wilson, who is a former graduate of the military academy, at the Air Force Academy, who is not a member of this subcommittee, but has been deeply involved and deeply concernedhave graciously deferred their opportunity to make a statement, we can come immediately back to the panel and to Ms. Fowler's opening statement.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So we have two votes, a 15 and a 5. And if we could place the hearing into recess. I beg your indulgence. And we will be back as soon as we possibly can.
Mr. MCHUGH. Let us reconvene the hearing and thank the panelists for their patience. I would note, we have been joined by some new members.
I do not know if anyone wants to make a statement. And they are not going to tell me, one way or another. So I am going to assume that they do not.
But we appreciate their presence. We have Mr. Schrock from the great State of Virginia to my right, who is of course an esteemed member of the subcommittee.
We also have Mr. Hayes, the great State of North Carolina, Fort Bragg area, who is also a member of this subcommittee, and Mr. Hefley, a very senior member of the Armed Services Committee. He does not serve on this subcommittee, but has had a great interest in this, not the least of which derives from the fact that he represents the home State of Colorado very, very well.
So we appreciate their being here.
With that, Ms. Fowler. Thank you, Tillie, for being here. And you know the protocol. I will defer to you if you wish to make any introductions or not. But we look forward to your comments.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
STATEMENT OF HON. TILLIE K. FOWLER, CHAIRWOMAN, PANEL TO REVIEW SEXUAL MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS AT THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY; MAJOR GENERAL MICHAEL NARDOTTI, JR. (U.S. ARMY RETIRED) AND MS. ANITA CARPENTER, CEO, INDIANA COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT, INC.
Ms. FOWLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is really an honor to be here today, first time on this side of the table. But I have a lot of great memories of hearings in this great room and on this great committee.
And I really appreciate your having this hearing today. I appreciate the interest that all the members have in this very important topic. And, as I say, it is a great honor to be here.
I would like to start out. I will be the only member of the panel to give written testimony. And then we will all be available for questions. So I would like to introduce the panel officially before I start my statement.
Ms. FOWLER. And I will start over to my left: Dr. Laura Miller; General Josiah Bunting; Ms. Anita Carpenter; General Mike Nardotti; Colonel John Ripley; and Dr. Sally Satel. They have all worked very hard, very diligently.
We had a 90-day timeframe that the statute required. And so a lot of these people have taken leaves of absence from jobs and spent time on this very important subject.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would also like to recognize, as a group, our dedicated staff, who are behind me. If they could just stand and be recognized? The reason you have this report on time and in such a good manner is because of their hard work.
They worked day and night, through the hurricane, you name it, to get this out on time and in the thorough, great manner that it was done. So again, they took leaves from some other jobs.
And we have a couple of law students even that I need to write some letters to some law faculties to explain why they have been absent. But we really appreciate all of their hard work.
I would also like to thank a couple of members of the committee's press office, Harald Stavenas and Angie Sowa. When we had our press conference here on Monday, we had it in this room.
And they were invaluable in helping us set that up and making sure that went off in the right manner. So I appreciate their assistance.
I am always comfortable doing anything in this great room, so I appreciated their help.
Now I would like to, if I could, present some written remarks and then go into answering questions. I do want to again thank you for holding this important hearing and giving us the opportunity to report to you, in person, on the findings of our panel, as required by section 501 of Public Law 10811.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. Chairman, there was a quote I came upon when I was working on this. And it was from Socrates. And he likened one's reputation to fire when he said, ''When once you have kindled it, you may easily preserve it, but if you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again.''
Since the first cadets arrived at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1955, the majority of them have lived by the core values of the United States Air Force: Integrity First; Service Before Self; Excellence in All We Do.
By doing so, they kindled the kind of reputation for the academy that we would expect of such an institution.
While not extinguishing it, the sexual assault scandal that has plagued the United States Air Force Academy over the last ten years has certainly tarnished the reputation of this great institution. And we appear before you today to continue the arduous task of restoring both confidence in the academy and safety for its cadets.
Mr. Chairman, women have served our Nation admirably in times of war and in times of peace. They have graduated from the Air Force Academy since 1980 and served their country with distinction, even paying the ultimate price.
And I would like to call your attention to section 6, row F, number 13. And no, it is not a reference to a particular section of our panel's report. Nor is it a seat in Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Section 6, row F, number 13 is located at the U.S. Air Force Academy Cemetery. And it is the final resting place of academy graduate First Lieutenant Laura Piper.
Lieutenant Piper was killed in the line of duty when her Blackhawk helicopter was shot down over Northern Iraq on April 14, 1994, just 2 years after graduating from the Air Force Academy.
What our panel has learned about the treatment of some women at the Air Force Academy is an injustice to all who have gone therewomen and men. It is not befitting of the sterling reputation kindled for so long by more than 35,000 cadets from 44 classes who have graduated from this institution.
And, quite frankly Mr. Chairman, it is simply an insult to the career and the memory of First Lieutenant Laura Piper.
When a new round of sexual assault allegations at the academy surfaced earlier this year, this committee wisely decided to take a new approach to a problem that has plagued the academy for at least a decade and quite possibly for as long as women have attended the institution.
You, along with your colleagues in the other body, insisted on the creation of an independent panel of seven private citizens to, according to the public law, ''carry out a study of the policies, management and organizational practices and cultural elements of the United States Air Force Academy that were conducive to allowing sexual misconduct, including sexual assaults and rape, at the U.S. Air Force Academy.''
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
On May 27, 2003, using the criteria established in the law, Secretary Rumsfeld appointed the seven members of our panel. And I am pleased that they were all able to be with us here today.
And I think it is important for the members of this committee to know that this is an all-volunteer force here. And they could not have been more serious, more dedicated and more determined to solve this problem.
And I think the best way to describe their dedication is to say that each approached this effort as if it were their own daughter who were a cadet at the academy today.
As a result, the panel's final report offers substantive and constructive recommendations to rebuild the academy's commitment to its cadets and to the American people. Our priority was to help ensure a safe and secure learning environment for all the academy's cadets.
Unfortunately, the environment at the academy has been anything but over the past years. The statistics are appalling.
During the 10-year period from January 1, 1993 through December 31, 2002, there were 142 allegations of sexual assault at the academy, for an average of more than 14 allegations a year. According to the academy's surveys, this only represents 20 percent of the actual assaults, with female cadets who were responding that 80 percent of assaults are going unreported over that 10-year period.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is unacceptable for an institution training our Nation's future military leaders. And let me be clear, one incident is unacceptable.
The roots of this crisis go as deep as the institution's culture. We found the most striking indicator of the existence of a hostile environment for female cadets in the academy's own survey data, data that was simply dismissed by leadership because it was ''unscientific.''
Just last year, more than one-fourth of the responding male cadets stated they did not believe that women belong at the academy. One cadet fourth-class wrote, ''Even with women in the armed forces, they should not be at the military academies.''
And another, ''Women are worthless and should be taken away from the U.S. Air Force Academy.''
These comments are even more unsettling when you consider that women have been at the U.S. Air Force Academy since before these young men were even born. Representative Heather Wilson, who is here with us today, had already graduated from the academy and earned a Rhodes Scholarship before they celebrated their first birthday.
Eight years before they would arrive at the academy, graduate Laura Piper was returning for the last time. These young men have no memory of an Air Force Academy without women. Yet somehow, they believe it should be that way.
When such beliefs cannot be attributed to experience, they must then be attributed to character and values. These are learned traits and when an institution of higher learning finds warning signs like these in its surveysscientific or notthat institution has a problem and an obligation to correct it.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This report outlines steps the academy must take to strengthen its character development programs.
Panel members experienced the gravity of this crisis first-hand during our visit to Colorado Springs. We were stunned to hear stories from victims, many still too afraid to go public with their stories and, more disturbing, too afraid to make an official report of the crime.
They shared with us how their lives have been torn apart by a violent assault and an aftermath that most of them suffered alone and in silence because of an atmosphere of fear and retribution by peers aided by either indifference, incompetence or a combination of both by an academy leadership that they believe failed them.
Our closed-door experience with these victims is what drives our concern with the policy that was outlined in the Agenda for Change that eliminates any form of confidential reporting of sexual assaults. The panel is very concerned that stripping away all confidentiality takes this academy backwards to 1995, when the lack of confidentiality resulted in underground support groups and unreported crimes.
The panel believes a balance must be maintained between the support and treatment of victims and the prosecution of assailants. Confidentiality is the fulcrum on which that balance can exist. And it must remain an option for all victims of sexual assault at the academy.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Agenda for Change overlooks an established form of privileged communication that is currently available throughout the armed forces and could benefit cadet victims. And that is the psychotherapist-patient privilege.
This method of confidentiality has been available to the academy since the psychotherapist-patient relationship was recognized in 1999 by Presidential Executive Order and implemented in Military Rule of Evidence 513. It is in use by both West Point and Annapolis.
Accordingly, we recommend the creation of a program that combines the existing CASIE programand CASIE stands for Cadets Advocating Sexual Integrity and Educationwith a trained victim advocate psychotherapist managing the program. This would ensure the academy has available to all sexual assault victims an established form of privileged communication within which to report their assault.
Giving victims choices helps them regain a sense of control over their lives and promotes the healing process. Having a trained psychotherapist explain the consequences of their choices also increases the opportunities for making the right choices, thereby further helping to encourage the official reporting of these crimes. The academy should not be the only service academy not to offer this form of confidential reporting.
The sexual assault problems at the academy are real and continue to this day. But the panel is encouraged by a renewed emphasis in Washington to immediately address and solve this problem.
We are impressed with the leadership of Secretary Roche and General Jumper after a decade of inaction and failures.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Secretary Roche made a step towards serious reform this year by rolling out his Agenda for Change and replacing the academy's leadership team with one that has been quick to take action. However, the members of this panel want to be clear. The Agenda for Change should be seen as a blueprint, an initial step in reversing years of institutional ineffectiveness.
Each of panel members agrees that change will not happen overnight, nor will it be truly effective without a sustained, dedicated focus by academy officials and Air Force leadership. The very culture of the academy must be altered before real change can be maintained for future generations.
We found that a consistent flaw in previous attempts to address this problemand a flaw that allowed it to happen in the first placewas the lack of external oversight.
The panel recommends the Board of Visitors operate more like a corporate board of directors. We recommend the formation of committees with specific oversight responsibilities, such as academic affairs, student life and athletics.
We recommend a minimum of four meetings a year, two of those to occur at the academy. And we recommend that all board members have unfettered access to the academy grounds and to the cadets.
This committeethe Armed Services Committeeshould also more aggressively exercise its oversight authority by reviewing reports on the academy called for in our recommendations and the reports that you are calling for in your 2004 Defense Authorization bill.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I would like to draw the committee's attention to Panel Recommendation #4, in which we recommend revising the law to expand the available pool of potential candidates for the position of dean of faculty beyond the academy's 21 permanent professors. There is a time sensitivity issue here.
In order to benefit from this reform in the selection of the next dean of faculty, which will occur as early as next spring, we would urge the committee, should you concur with our recommendation, to revise this law using the 2004 Authorization bill that is presently in conference.
Otherwise, under normal rotation schedules, this reform could not be effective until sometime around 2007.
This panel has chronicled this crisis. And I believe there is a board up over here. But since you probably cannot read that from where you are sitting, the very last appendix in your book is a fold-out of that timeline.
And it took a long time for some of our staff to develop that because our questions were: who knew what and when? And what did they try to do?
And that timeline does address that. So we have chronicled the crisis and the failures of leaders to effectively and aggressively respond.
The warning signs were there. But they went unnoticed or they were ignored.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We are here to report that this panel found a deep chasm in leadership during the most critical time in the academy's history, a chasm that extended far beyond its campus in Colorado Springs. And sadly, we believe this helped create an environment in which sexual assault became a part of life.
Any credible assessment of sexual misconduct problems over the last ten years must include an examination of the responsibility of both academy and Air Force headquarters leadership. Unfortunately, the Air Force general counsel's Working Group Report failed to do that.
That is why this panel recommends that the Inspector General of the Department of Defense conduct a thorough review of the accountability of the previous leaders at the academy and Air Force headquarters. This should include an assessment of General Gilbert, General Wagie and Colonel Slavec, as well as former leaders of the Air Force itself.
We recommend that the results of this review should be provided in a timely manner to both the members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and to the Secretary of Defense.
And we want to point out that the panel is recommending that the Inspector General investigate the previous leadership. While we offer what we believe is some constructive criticism of the changes instituted by the present academy and Air Force leadership, we have found neither team lacking in their understanding of the seriousness of the crisis or in their commitment to finding a lasting solution.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It would not serve the interests of the academy or its cadets to distract the present leadership with a backward-looking investigation. They need to be focused on the future of this great institution.
We recognize the difficulty in holding accountable those who have left their positions of leadership and particularly those who have left military service altogether. However, given the magnitude of this situation and to set a clear example of the level of performance expected of future leaders, this panel has concluded that every effort should be made to formally document the failures of former leaders and to ensure this documentation becomes a part of their official military record.
In total, this report contains 21 specific recommendations that this panel believes can put the academy back on track and allow it to live up to its potential as a unique institution of higher education that also trains future leaders of our Air Force. Some are already in various stages of implementation. Others can be implemented administratively at the academy or at Air Force headquarters, while some will require legislative action.
While Congress will not necessarily have an implementation role in all 21, we would urge you to take an oversight and evaluation role in our recommendations, as well as those found in the Agenda for Change and the Working Group Report.
As this panel concludes its work, it is our sincere hope that while our leaders make every effort to solve this difficult problem, the vast majority of cadets will continue to strive to live by the core values of integrity, service and excellence.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is and should always be an honor to call oneself a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Fowler can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you, Madam Chair.
And again, let me reiterate the appreciation that we all possess, with respect to the panel's fine work, and also to stateI was not aware your staff was with you. Had I known at the time, I certainly would have acknowledged their presence as well.
All of us have staffs. Some of us have been staff. And we understand the importance of their devotion, dedication and expertise.
And appreciate their sacrifice and contribution to this work. Thank you all very much.
Obviously, we are here today to try to best understand, as we can, the direction of your findings and where we need to go next. I think an important part of that is to understand clearly what you did not find or what you have not focused upon.
Some of us have received phone calls from interested parties from various media and others who are finding words in this report that I cannot find and are questioning the involvement, the participation, the alleged shortcomings of individuals that I do not see in this report.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So let me just ask, for the record, when I read this report, I see a deep concern with respect to accountability of past members of the administration at the Air Force Academy and Air Force leadership in general. I read a fairly consistent positive finding and attitude toward current leadership, particularly the secretary, Secretary Roche, and the Chief of Staff, General Jumper.
Is that fair? Or are there nuances that I have missed?
Ms. FOWLER. That is fair. As far as our knowledge goes, once Secretary Roche and General Jumper were made aware of the situationand as far as we know, that was early this year in January or Februarythey began to take immediate action. And in fact, the Agenda for Change was issued before the final report of the working group.
They received our interim report. And they moved forward to make changes because they knew they had cadets arriving in June. And they could not let this situation continue to exist as it was.
So they started right away with the Agenda for Change. And while, as we have said, it is not a perfect document, it is a work in progress. It is a positive beginning. It was a great step forward.
We met with Secretary Roche in June. We met with General Jumper in July. They have both been very forthcoming with this panel.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Any information that we have asked for, we have received. They have worked very willingly and closely with us. So as far as this panel is concerned and during the work of this panel, we have not had any problems with the current leadership or seen any problems there.
But that is not to say there was not something earlier. But as far as our panel goes, we did not have any problems with the current leadership.
Mr. MCHUGH. Your findings note the chasm, if you will, between the chief of staff and the secretary and the administration at the Air Force and recommends some kind of interim body to kind of bring that together.
Recognizing, as you just said, Madam Chair, that obviously the things that the secretary and the chief have done may not be perfect, they were honest attemptsalthough you point out some disagreements with someand recognizing there is the need to try to interject some nexus between the Air Force Academy and the higher leadershipthe chief and the secretaryyou have not seen anything from your involvement, not suggesting there is nothing outside of that domain, but in your involvement, that would suggest that the secretary and/or the chief were derelict in responding to this, is there?
Ms. FOWLER. No, we have not, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much. Now going to what I think I have read that you have found and you are concerned about.
And you mentioned General Wagie. You mentioned Colonel Slavec and others very specifically and very candidly in your report.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Am I fair in assuming, however, that your recommendation is that their involvementtheir non-involvement, as the case may beis something you are concerned about? You have not reached conclusions or culpability, necessarily, but strongly suggest DOD IG pursue that?
Ms. FOWLER. That is correct, Mr. Chairman. As we reviewed the facts as we learned them, it became very obviousand this committee has seen this in the pastthat so often, there is a failure of leadership when problems occur, whether it is on a military base or in a military service academy, and that there was definitely a failure of leadership here at the academy.
These officers had the safety and security of the cadets. It was their responsibility. Some of themmaybe allwe think had knowledge of incidents that were occurring.
For example, General Wagie received the surveys each year. He has been the dean for five years.
He received the information from the Cadet Counseling Center. He had this information and never acted on it.
The commandant should have had it. Some say he had; some say he did not.
Colonel Slavec is the training group commander. We had enough questions raised that we felt that it was important that someone with more time than we had and more authority to conduct a thorough investigation, such as the DOD IG, needed to look further into this.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Because we want to send a message that leadership is accountable. When there is a failure of leadership, you do not just reassign them. You hold them accountable.
And it was not necessarily just the superintendent who was at fault. The superintendent did lose a star when he retired. And we agreed with that decision.
But we think there needs to be further looking at the other immediate past leadership there. And that should be done by the DOD IG.
Mr. MCHUGH. Let me just, for what it is worth, state I could not agree more. We have heard a lot about the culture, about the system, the process.
And all of that is important. We need to look at that very seriously.
But at the end of the day, individuals are the ones that populate the system. And their failures are, in my view, contrary to the opinion of some apparently, very relevant. And accountability is key here.
So I think it is an important finding and one that I wanted to make clear was in that. And I want to commend my ranking member colleague, Dr. Snyder. He and I have agreed to sign a letter to the DOD IG, encouraging him, in our strongest possible terms, to accept your recommendation that this be pursued further.
Because this starts with people. This is a people organization.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Speaking of people, I want to focus just for a moment, before I defer to my colleagues, on the most important people in this equation, as far as I am concerned, and that is the victims. I would hope, at the end of the day, our key objective here, as important as restoring the confidence, the reputation, the integrity of the institution isand it is incredibly importantbut still, that we have a system that recognizes these acts for what they are; that is, a horrendous, disgusting crime that will be tolerated nowhere, but particularly at a United States military academy and the service academy for the Air Force, and that does the best possible process for the victims themselves.
And I do not want to set the precedent of calling upon individual members. But I know Ms. Carpenter has had extensive experience in victims' advocacy and such.
Could you just give us a thumbnail sketch in response to where you think the academy has gone thus far, where you disagree and where we need to do even better and go further to represent these terribly abused victims more effectively?
Ms. CARPENTER. Thank you.
I think that the biggest concern that we have at this point is the issue of confidentiality under the Agenda for Change. And we address it very carefully. And it caused us great deliberation, the confidentiality issue.
That under the Agenda for Change, there is not an opportunity for confidentiality. And there are mechanisms available, within the current structurethrough the psychotherapist-patient confidentiality issue, through the chaplain privilegethat are available and need to be utilized.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And the greatest concern, I think, that I have from a victim advocacy standpoint is that, unless we provide victims of sexual violence an avenue of secure, confidential reporting, where they feel the ability to come forward, report the crime, know that there is a safety mechanism in place and that the leadership is there and behind them 100 percent and that there are these wheels that have been put in motion and that they are aware of all the services from the get-go, that they know that if they make a report, that these are the chain of events that are going to happen and that these are the steps that are going to be taken. And if they fail to report or if they fail to have the evidence collected, that these are the chain of events that will happen from there.
We have failed in the past to do that. And so I think that we have to give great care and concern now to make sure that those mechanisms are in place, confidentiality is there and that then we will create a system where we have improved victim reporting and response to the issue.
And if we do not, my biggest concern is that a year from now, we will have the Air Force Academy coming forward to say, ''We have solved the problem. We have a decrease in reporting sexual violence;'' when, in fact, they have just driven it underground.
Mr. MCHUGH. No reporting, so no problem.
The report recommends or cites the process that is substantially different actually at both West Point and the Naval Academy, with respect to the issue of confidentiality. I do not even know if you have had an opportunity to look at those other two academies' systems.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But do you feel that those are adequate for implementation at the Air Force Academy? Or do they even need to be amended and updated or changed to some extent?
Ms. CARPENTER. You know, on those issues, I will defer to General Nardotti and others, members of the panel, who have more knowledge on West Point and Annapolis and that could probably speak better to that.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, I am somewhat concerned because I have been on the board at West Point for ten years. So please, general?
General NARDOTTI. The system at West Pointwell, actually, we were somewhat surprised that there had not been more discussion between the Air Force Academy and the other service academies over the period of time that they were struggling with this issue. And even when the issue exploded earlier this year, there apparently was not the kind of discussion that would have enlightened them as to what the military academy was doing.
Now we were not charged with looking at the other academies. And we did not undertake a detailed examination.
But we did take the opportunity to see what was going on there. And in discussing this with academy personnel, it appears that they basically have taken the fundamentally correct approach to accomplish what Ms. Carpenter has just outlined.
They basically have a non-confidential reporting channel and a confidential reporting channel. And basically, the confidential reporting channel is, basically, you have in that channel qualified therapists who can deal with somebody that is under the extraordinary trauma of this kind of event.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But they make it clear to the victims, under those circumstances, that in the process of taking care of them, they make sure that they are informed of the consequences of going one way or the other; that if they choose to keep it confidential, it does hamper the command's ability to deal effectively with the perpetrators because if you do not do certain investigative things very quickly, you lose that opportunity.
On the other hand, if they are going to go into the non-confidential channels, you are still bringing them in under the counseling of somebody who is qualified to take care of them. In the Air Force, under the Air Force Academy's past procedurenow General Hosmer, whose name appears in our report, he is the one that really made the first concerted effort to deal with the confidentiality issue.
We believe he had the right idea in that he understood, after talking to the women at the Air Force Academy, women cadets, that if he did not have some confidentiality in reporting, that they were never going to get the reports in the first place. So whatever intent you have to prosecute and deal with perpetrators, you were not going to have that opportunity.
And his intent was: take care of the victims. And by properly taking care of them with the right counseling, you can encourage them to go into the right reporting channels, to enable the command to deal with the problem.
Unfortunately, General Hosmer left after about a year-and-a-half. And his intent was not carried through in subsequent years.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And you had a confidential reporting system which left victims with the impression that they could come in at a later date and it would not necessarily have the kinds of consequences on later prosecutions.
Let me just make one other point. In the Air Force General Counsel's Working Group Report, they addressed the issue of the 513, the Military Rule of Evidence 513. But in our opinion, they dismiss it.
And in fact, if there were any concern for confidentiality in any respect, you would see that in the Agenda for Change. You do not.
You do not, when you read the Agenda for Change and you listen to what the Air Force Academy leadership has said on the issue of confidentiality, certainly the population at the Air Force Academy believes that there is not a confidential channel. And the impediments that have been noted by the Air Force general counsel, in their Working Group Report, we believe can be overcome.
They are basically impediments created by Air Force instructions. The secretary can handle that. He can make the appropriate changes to deal with that.
And of course, as we pointed out, the military academy, in its recently published Sexual Assault Review Program, basically identifies that confidential channel. And the Naval Academy has a confidential channel as well.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you very much, general. Thank you, Ms. Carpenter.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The gentleman from Arkansas, Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Representative Fowler, you are the perfect person to ask this question to. And I read your report last night and this morning. And I think it is very good.
But I think, in my view, you went pretty light on Congress and oversight. You know, it is not like we have been adjourned for the last decade. I mean, we have been here.
And I am going to use this, a little bit, as an opportunity to say I think, in my view, that the Armed Services Committee is doing a very poor job right now of providing oversight in a whole broad range of areas. But to me, this is just an example of one.
I mean, there is no reason that we could not havein 1993, in 1994, in 1995, in 1996, in 1997, in 1998, in 1999, in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003been having a series of hearings on this until we were all satisfied that the problem has been solved. But for whatever reason, it did not get done.
So my question is, rather than looking back, but looking forward, what specifically, having been on this side, would you consider appropriate oversight, in terms of the types of activities, the frequency of activities? If you would share that with us, please.
Ms. FOWLER. Well, I agree, Congressman Snyder. But the fact, though, is this committee was not brought this information.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I mean, I think if this committee had been made aware of some of this information that we are now aware of, then the committee would certainly have been exercising some oversight. But it had not been brought to this committee, or to other places either.
As we document in the report, there was a lot of lack of communication over the past ten years. And that is something that needs to be remedied now.
I have not seen the final language. But I understand that in the conference report of your Defense Authorization bill, there has been a compromise worked out.
And I think it is more your language than the Senate's. But I am not quite sure how it eventually evolved that you are requiring reports each year, from each of the service academies, on this issue and others that will be surveyed and then reported to you.
And I commend you for that. I think that is a good way to do it because I do think both this committee and the one in the Senate should be exercising annual oversight over the academies.
And by having that reporting process in place, so that you get those reportsI know, I used to be on the Naval Academy Board. We sent our reports to the President. We did not send them to the Congress.
And so, by now, and what we put in here is that those annual reports from the Board of Visitors should go to you too. They should not just go to the President. The Congress should get them.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So I think if you, the Congress, receive the reports you have asked for, the reports that others get too, you know, if you get these each year, then you have the information from which to exercise oversight. Because without information, it is hard to do oversight.
But I would recommendand I know it is this subcommittee's jurisdictionthat every year, you have an oversight hearing, you know, taking the information that you received and then have a hearing as to what is really going on. Look at it; review it; make recommendations.
While our recommendations, we think are good, until they are implemented, who knows whether they are going to work or not? So I think this is a perfect body to, each year, look at what is working and what is not, you know, as these things get put in place and determine that.
Dr. SNYDER. I think that is a good idea.
Ms. FOWLER. Congressman, could General Bunting make a comment on that?
Dr. SNYDER. Yes.
General BUNTING. I think everybody in the room who is an alumnus of a college and who loves the college and who feels close to it responds fervently to an invitation to be on the Board of Trustees of a college, and that that civic obligation is probably his most cherished obligation of all the things he does outside his family or his job.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
He faithfully attends all meetings. He is very much involved in the life of the college.
He knows what is going on. He talks to the president, the dean, the students and so on.
The oversight body that we looked at, the Board of Visitors, which includes a number of representatives from the House and from the Senate, as well as presidential appointments, in my opinion, has been virtually negligent in its responsibilities for the last ten years. The average attendance at board meetings hovers around 50 percent.
I can think of a couple of senators who attended no meetings at all or, in one case, only one during their entire term. This is an institution whose board is scheduled to meet once a year on campus.
The board meeting is close to farcical. It consists of a Power Point presentation, cocktails and dinner at the president's house and then they are flown back to Washington.
That should have been a first line of reconnaissance and of information. And frankly, I have never heard of an institution whose board operates like that.
To use the most egregious example that comes to mind, in the year 2001, I could not find the minutes. And the reason I could not find the minutes was because the board did not meet in that year.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Dr. SNYDER. I wanted to ask, nowhere in the report, Representative Fowler, is there any mention of admissions policy. Did you all entertain the possibility that perhaps the admissions is such that some bad apples that should not have been let in, that turned out to be perpetrators?
That we should have been put on notice somewhere in the admissions process? That they should not have been . . .
Ms. FOWLER. Well, we did not think we should get into micromanaging their admissions policy. However, we have had some discussions with some of the people there.
And I would like to get Dr. Laura Miller, who has some interesting comments on that, because we do think they need to ask some questions in their admissions policy. And I would like to recommend to my colleaguesI think most of us have review committees that help us with our nominating process.
And what I did, back in the mid-1990s was added some questions for that committee to ask about belief in an honor codeyou know, character, ethicsbecause unfortunately, a lot of today's young people are coming from different households from the ones we came from. And these are questions that need to be asked in those interviews, before we ever nominate them, as to some of those of types of backgrounds and beliefs.
And I would like to ask Dr. Miller because she had some comments on that.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. MILLER. We were unable to get specific detailed information about the accused in these cases because they are still being investigated, privacy act. So what we are hoping is that, once the DOD IG investigation is done, you will have a better sense of the type of person.
If there is any particular pattern among what type of people end up taking advantage of their fellow female cadets, whether that is previous honor or conduct violations when they are at the academy, so maybe you could screen them out sooner in the process, or whether there were indications before they were admitted.
We have also raised the question of whether the increase in admitting students with waiverswith academic waiversis related at all to some of the conduct problems that they have been having. We do not have that information yet.
But we do know that increasingly, cadets not meeting the minimum academic standards are admitted, in part to be able to meet the needs of the athletic department.
Ms. FOWLER. And could Colonel Ripley make a comment on that, Congressman?
Colonel RIPLEY. Congressman, your question illustrates all the more reason why it is critical that we have a very detailed and thorough stepped selection process for any candidate to any of the academies. I served for three years on the Naval Academy admissions board.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And as thorough and as detailed as that was, you still cannot filter out a fraud, someone who is already predetermined to not respond to the questions correctly and so forth. And we have other checks and balances, such as the so-called blue and gold officers, who interview each candidate separately.
We have, of course, the requirement for recommendations from two of his teachers, ministers, et cetera, et cetera. And yet, some still get in.
How you can identify the sexual predator or the potential midshipman or cadet who has a lack of values or a system of hostility toward women, we are not sure how you do that. But it certainly does illustrate the tremendous importance of trying to develop whatever system and take however long is necessary to highlight that sort of thing.
And still, you are going to find these people within your brigade and your corps. And just recently, there was another example at the Air Force Academy of that very thing: someone who had all the right credentials, all the perfect recommendations and one still appears.
And I do not mean to sound negative on the system. It is as good as it can possibly be.
And it is especially good when individual members of Congress and presidential appointees, secretarial appointees from the services, have those committees that look at the individual candidates and do a filtration system. And yet, they still come.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will hold my other questions for now because I know other members have questions. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank the gentleman.
Gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Meehan.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. So on this admissions process, it seems to me though, if you have one in five people admitted to the academy that think either women are worthless or not worthy to be at the academy or should not be admitted to begin with, there is certainly evidence that there is an issue there.
Is there some way? I do not know, when I worked in the District Attorneys (DA's) office and we looked at the defendants or those who had been convicted of rape or sexual assault, there are certain characteristics that are a stream that run through those.
And viewing women as worthless or not worthy to serve, it would seem like there would be a way to come up with some kind of a psychological testing that would give some clue, would it not?
Ms. FOWLER. First, could I qualify something? Because I want to make sureand if you look at your appendix I, the second chart on therebecause we made it clear in my testimony, but I think it is sometimes repeated differently in the press, that it is one in five of the males that responded to the survey.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So if you look at the figures there, like in 2002, 1,580 males responded and yet, there are 3,000-something males there. So it was one in five of those who responded.
So I do not want people to thinkit is still too many, but I do not think that one in five of the total male population there think that. Because it does make a difference of several hundred.
Mr. MEEHAN. And the other factor would be one in five was actually willing to write it down on a survey and put it on a piece of paper.
Ms. FOWLER. It is appalling. It is appalling.
Mr. MEEHAN. It is just incredible. I mean, it really is incredible.
Ms. FOWLER. But I just want to make clear, to get it right.
Currently, the academy does not do criminal background screening for applicants, let alone any psychological screening. So this is one area that is still open for investigation.
Mr. MEEHAN. I spoke to Secretary Roche, who I admire, during February's hearing, about how he has tried to handle this crisis. And my view was that he was taking the right steps, in terms of acting promptly.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But it is important to recognize the fact that generally, institutions respond when, in every newspaper in America, it is laid out there, the dirty, disgusting truth of what is happening in an institution. You do get responses.
Did Secretary Roche and General Jumper have access to the information that resulted in, from 1993 when General Hosmer got the process of reporting, did they have access to that information?
Ms. FOWLER. We are not sure that they did. In fact, I think we are one of the first who have really compiled all of this.
The working group pulled some of it together. But they left a good bit out, as we have detailed in our report.
And so we are not sure that they did have all of that information. And so what we have said is once this did come to their attention earlier this year, then we were pleased that they did move on it and moved on it fairly rapidly.
Mr. MEEHAN. Sure.
Ms. FOWLER. They both were put in office in 2001, as we all distinctly remember what happened in September of 2001. So their attention was elsewhere other than the academy for a good part of the beginning of each of their tenures.
Mr. MEEHAN. Sure. I am just curious whether they had the information. It is interesting that the only reason that, in 1993, this reporting process began was because, in fact, there was a sexual assaultalleged sexual assaultin February of that year.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And if you look at the number of assaults over a period of time, it certainly has not been getting any better. I notice that the 2 years of 2001 and 2002, if you take them together, it is the highest number that actually were reported at 3518 and, I think, 17which does not mean anything other than they were reported that year.
Having been in a DA's office, I recognize the fact that there are reasons why people report. There are all kinds of circumstances.
Ms. FOWLER. Well, and the startling thing, congressman, is that according to the surveys, is 80 percent of the assaults have not been reported. So you add that to these numbers, really.
These are just the ones reported. And there are a lot more that have allegedly occurred that have not been reported over those years.
Mr. MEEHAN. When looking at how to change the culture, which is really what we are looking forand I was interested in Congressman Snyder talking about our responsibility. This is everyone's responsibility.
And when you want to change a culture, you really have to shake things up. I am wondering if there are any other ideas.
It seems to me admissions is an area we look at, we should look at. It seems to me that every year this report comes out, members of this committee ought to have it.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And we ought to talk about it. And we ought to lay it out there publicly.
Are there any other things that we can do, as a committee, that would be a recommendation on the part of the panel?
Ms. FOWLER. As far as legislatively, we have some recommendations in here. One is on the dean of the faculty, which I mentioned in my testimony. And that really is of immediate concern because of that appointment coming up this spring.
Others deal with the Board of Visitors. And we have some recommendations that would take a change in the law to make some of those changes in the composition of the Board of Visitors.
I know those need to be carefully reviewed because changing that law would also change it, in some cases, for the other two service academies too. So those need to be reviewed carefully.
But I think there are some that maybe could be easily made; others not. But there are some legislative changes in our report that we would appreciate your review, so that if there are some that would appropriately could go in the conference report in the next week or two, then that would help them move along instead of waiting another whole year before there is another Defense Authorization bill to have them move.
Then we have recommendations that really need to be implemented by either the academy or Air Force leadership. And anything you could do to encourage those.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And one of the main things in hereand I am not sure which number it isbut back in August, I think it was August 14th, the secretary of the Air Force came out with an oversight memorandum stating how he thought this needed to be overseen, this process. And he set up what was called an executive steering group to oversee the process at the academy.
We think that is a good idea. We think the steering group is a good group. Its composition was good. But it was only set up to be for a year.
We suggest it be made permanent because part of the problem has been no continuity of oversight in the Pentagon of these situations at the Air Force Academy. And part of it is because leaders come and go.
Wars happen. Other things divert them from looking at the academy every other week. So there needs to be some entity that is permanent, that is composed of the right people, that that is their responsibility, is to exercise that oversight.
So in addition to what the Congress would be doing, it needs to also be done from the Pentagon. And we support that recommendation, but would like to see it made permanent.
Mr. MEEHAN. Last question, Mr. Chairman. You had indicated Secretary Rumsfeld was briefed on your report.
Has he indicated to members, to any of you, what specific steps he will take to ensure that everyone in the chain of command understands that sexual misconduct is a serious problem that will not be tolerated? Has he indicated any specific steps that he will take?
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. FOWLER. He was just presented with this report Monday afternoon. At that meeting were the secretary, also Secretary Wolfowitz, Dr. Chu and General Pace. They were all briefed at the same time.
And then after that meeting, we presented it to Secretary Roche. So they have all received the report and are currently going through it.
We had a long meeting with Secretary Rumsfeld. He is deeply concerned about this issue.
We went through every recommendation. And he was very receptive. And I have been assured there will be follow-through.
Mr. MEEHAN. Thank you. And again, outstanding report. Thanks very much for your testimony.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank the gentleman. Let me ask before, if I may exercise a tad of a prerogative here as the chair.
Were the reports, the survey findings with respect to the cadets' attitudes, female cadets' attitudes, the concern about rape, et cetera, et cetera, were those survey results included in the Board of Visitors report to the President, do you know?
Ms. FOWLER. Not that we know of.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCHUGH. So even if . . .
Ms. FOWLER. They were not.
Mr. MCHUGH. So even if, for exampleand I still think we ought to get those Board of Visitors reports. But even if those had been rendered to the Congress, that information still would not have been included, would it?
Ms. FOWLER. This was Dean Wagie, to whom those surveys went every year, deemed them to be invalid and never did anything with them.
Mr. MCHUGH. Because of the lack of scientific validity?
Ms. FOWLER. Exactly.
Mr. MCHUGH. And was that the only response he had?
Ms. FOWLER. And yet, the information in them was startling. Scientific or not, you were getting some very startling information that needed to be acted on.
And General Bunting reviewed the Board of Visitors' reports for the last ten years, I believe?
General BUNTING. The reports are platitudinous. They are recitals of all of the good things about America and American youth, basically.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCHUGH. Yeah, I have seen a couple. And I think that is a fair observation.
So my point is, perhaps there has to be more than just a requirement that we receive those reports, as deemed to the President, but also the results of any internal surveys that may or may not be done.
Ms. FOWLER. We include that in these recommendations. I mean, we had a whole page of recommendations dealing with the Board of Visitors and restructuring and how that would rework.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank you.
General BUNTING. I just want to make a brief point on the Board of Visitors. And I am sure you will find this of interest.
In discussing the issue with academy leadership, the military academy leadership, they published their sexual assault review policy in April of this year. They did not do that after the Air Force Academy problems became obvious.
The superintendent had directed efforts to deal with that problem for some time before. And again, according to academy personnel, that was a result of some issues that were raised by the Board of Visitors in that case.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So that is an example of how effective oversight by a Board of Visitors got out ahead of a problem, at least to the point of getting a timely program on the street and something that, at least in the opinion of this panel, is pretty close to the mark, in terms of what needs to be done.
Mr. MCHUGH. Yeah, we acted correctly on that one, that is for sure. I am sure there are a lot of other areas we need to do better.
The gentlelady from California, Ms. Sanchez.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And once again, thank you for having this hearing and for your leadership on this issue. And to everybody in front of us, thank you so much.
I have one question that I am going to ask. And maybe all of you can think about it for a little bit before some of you decide to answer it.
And then I have a very technical series of questions that I would like to ask the general, because you do have a law background, right, with respect to this?
So for the rest of you, you only had 90 days to do thisto review, to get it all together, to report back, et cetera. You have done an incredible job.
But I guess the question would be: if you had more time, what further areas of inquiry would you pursue to gaining a better understanding of what is going on or what we could do? And what would you further develop, as far as recommendations in that report?
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And are there any other studies or follow-up that you think Congress needs to think about or this committee needs to think about, in order to get a fuller and more fair evaluation, either of the cultural or the legal aspects of this? So I will sort of put that out. And maybe you can think about it a minute and let me ask the technical question to the major general.
Article 37 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) prohibits commanders from attempting to influence the independent discretion of subordinate commanders in disposing of criminal cases under the code. The prohibition, Unlawful Command Influence, UCI, is essential to protect the integrity of the military justice process.
Considering the recommendation that you have for more intensive oversight of the academy from Air Force headquarters, is it possible or practical to ask for this kind of oversight, given the UCMJ's provisions on UCI? Can you explain how Air Force leaders can effectively supervise the academy in this area without interfering with individual cases?
Or in other words, would it still be possible for a cadet accused of sexual misconduct to get a fair trial under the kind of oversight regime that you envision? And I guess that leads to the other question of, having looked at the issue of sexual assault at the academy from a variety of angles, does your deliberation yield any conclusions on needed changes to rape or sexual assault statutes under the UCMJ?
General NARDOTTI. In my judgment, the Unlawful Command Influence issue is not a problem in this context. That becomes a problem when the superior commanders or the headquarters is attempting to influence the disposition of a case.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Now some may argue that, well, if you are beating the drum very loudly about how serious sexual assault cases are, that somehow this is, by implication to subordinate commanders, that you really need to deal with this seriously. I have more confidence in the military justice system and the judgment of commanders than to assume that they would simply take guidance from a superior headquarters to deal with a very serious problem.
The guidance from the headquarters is not simply, ''deal with these cases seriously,'' it is ''deal with the problem comprehensively;'' number one, doing the things that are necessary to prevent it and number two, dealing with victims in a way that allows you to first take care of the victims and collect evidence that makes it even possible for you to deal with the cases.
And then once they go into the system, let the chips fall where they may. Follow all the rules. Do not exercise any undue influence, any unlawful influence.
All command influence is not prohibited by Article 37. It is unlawful command influence. And in my judgment, it is perfectly reasonable and responsible by the Air Force headquarters and the leadership of the Air Force to identify this problem and say that we need to deal with it with corrective measures and not run the risk of losing a case because of the unlawful command influence issue.
As to the other question that you had about changes in the rape and sexual assault laws, again, in my judgment, I do not believe the problem is there. It is not with the definitions of the crimes.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I think the UCMJ satisfactorily covers the range of issues and the range of crimes that would be encompassed in this particular family of offenses. It is not a difficulty, it is not a problem with what is required under the statute to prove those cases.
It is a matter of: have you done the basic investigative steps that you need to prove the case ultimately? So I certainly would not recommend any changes to those statutes. I think they are satisfactory. And I think the fixes lie in other areas.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, major general.
And then to the rest of the members, starting with Ms. Fowler.
Ms. FOWLER. You want us to address the timeframe?
Ms. SANCHEZ. The timeframe and what you did not get to that you think might be important for us to get to.
Ms. FOWLER. Well, the 90 days worked out. Because we all worked very hard, we covered the main things we thought should be covered because of a lot of hard work here.
I think the only thing we would have maybe done with a little extra time is interviewed a few more people that we would like to have interviewed from prior leadership. We just could not get to all of them.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Some of them were not available at the times we were or whatever. So that would maybe be the only thing.
What some of our recommendations areand as you go through those recommendations, you will see are for, like the DOD IG review or for the Air Force to conduct certain reviews. So we are calling for reviews that would not have been appropriate for us to do anyway.
I mean, we do not have the authority or the capability of a Department of Defense Inspector General. So the review that we have called for there was not one we should have been doing to begin with.
Or the review that we have called for, say, about the non-commissioned officers and their training and responsibilities; again, that is the Air Force. So I am speaking for myself and I think most of the paneland any of them can speak upI mean, while we could have taken a little slower pace, we were able to cover all of what we thought were the key, important points.
And what I think this committee should do is, as I said earlier, first help us get these implemented and then look at them a year from now, both these and the Agenda for Change and the other things that are coming forward to be implemented, and see how they are working.
Because we are not saying any of this is set in stone. But you need to make sure what is put in place is actually working and what needs to be changed.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
This is a work in progress. And it is going to take some fine tuning along the way.
And I think the key now is to get some of these recommendations moving and then review them next year and see, hopefully, if they are working.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Any of the rest of you have an area in particular that you thought, ''Gosh, darn, if we just had more time, this is really worth investigating?''
General BUNTING. There is a writer called Tom Ricks who, about three or four years ago wrote a book called, ''The Making of the Corps,'' which is about Parris Island. And he went down there and lived for four or five months and just watched everything.
And we throw this word ''culture'' around quite frequently. And to get a real sense of the culture, the nuts and bolts, I suppose if all of us had much more time, that would have been very valuable, to go there and hang around for a while.
I am particularly interested, for example, in faculty. You have a faculty of 560 people, which is a big university faculty.
What is their role in all of this? How can they be useful in changing the culture? In many respects, they are more important than all of the generals and colonels in the chain of command.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I also think we could have profitably spent more time getting to know some of the younger officersthe company tactical officers, the Air Officer Commanders (AOCs). Those are the people that have direct contact with the cadets.
Those are the young role models, if you will, that the young cadets look to for examples as to how they should conduct themselves. So I think if you had more time, that would have been certainly a valuable exercise.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Anybody else?
Ms. CARPENTER. I was thinking, it is funny, I was thinking of the book just came out called, ''Absolutely American,'' where someone spent four years at West Point. Now that is a little excessive.
But since the buzz word these days is ''imbedded,'' it might be interesting to have a person, like Laura Miller or someonenot me, I would never make it through boot campbut, I mean, who could actually be on the ground and well integrated and really observe at the ground level.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Yes?
General NARDOTTI. This repeats what some of the other panel members have said. But the culture issue is one that I think, really, if I had more time, I would like to look at. Because, as everyone else has been on the panel, we were really troubled by this attitude that up to one quarter of the cadets had, based on recent studies, and in prior years one in five.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
You do not necessarily prevent that coming in. What people learn on the outside, the military has to change a lot of attitudes when they bring people in.
And at the academies, they have an honor code that most of the new cadets do not have to live under prior to coming there. And they need to learn how to live under it.
With respect to the attitude toward women, if we have a situation where anywhere near one in five of the males leaving have that kind of attitude, aside from being grossly wrong, they are going to be pretty sorry leaders if they have that kind of attitude toward such a substantial portion of the force.
Having said that, I think that this is a long-term training and education and leader development issue that the academy has to tackle head on. For those of us who had worn the uniform for some amount of time and we grew up in an armed force and, from my perspective in the Army, seeing what the post-Vietnamor actually earlier than thatArmy was, the pre-volunteer Army and then the pains that the Army and the armed forces went through to develop and successfully achieve an all-volunteer force.
And a critical chapter there is the role of women in making that a success. Obviously, the cadets who have the attitude that they do not value women at the academy, they have missed the boat. If 20 percent of your force out there are women, how can you suggest that you should not have at least a proportionate number out of a principal source, commissioning source that is going to provide leaders to the Air Force?
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But the people coming in, the young men coming in who may have that attitude, they are obviously not getting the message. And educating them to the contribution of women over the long term is something that you cannot just do it one time.
You cannot do it with a single lecture. It has to be drilled into them on a continuing basis, and not overdone in a way that makes it almost seem artificial.
I think the cadets have to be disabused of the notion that the reason we have 20 percent of the Air Force are women, it is not because of some arbitrary notion of diversity, achieving diversity. It was because of a well-thought through process by which the Congress and the leadership of the armed services determined that we can bring women in and we can have them do many more things in the military. And they can add great value if we allow them to do that.
So they grew into a wider role because of demonstrated capability, not because somebody pusheddecided on a number and pushed women into those positions. And I strongly suspect and believe that the cadets who have the wrong attitude do not have any appreciation for that.
And that is something that you cannot forget that you are dealing with 17-and 18-year olds that you are brining in. And you are starting over every time you bring a class in and you have to train them and develop them as leaders.
And understanding that history is part of the process. And unfortunately, with the kind of public debate that you have that goes to the extremes on both ends of the issue of women in the military, it probably has the effect of diverting them from a more reasoned understanding of the true issue.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But that, I think, is an issue that, if we had more time, I certainly would like to look at that. Because that does not account for the criminal behavior here, but it certainlyit is a critical cultural issue that is in the long-term interest of the services to cure.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, General.
Anybody else on the panel?
Ms. MILLER. I just want to say that I agree with Ms. Fowler that I think we accomplished a lot in 90 days. And I think the recommendations that we have can contribute to a significant change at the academy.
That having been said, if we did have a longer term, I would like to conduct a more thorough evaluation of the admissions process. I wonder what the student body would look like if we only admitted the top qualified candidates who were committed to making the Air Force a career.
What would the gender composition look like? What would the student body look like? What would the discipline problems be then if we were only taking the top qualified people into the academy?
And also, once the IG report is conducted, I think it would be worthwhile to look more specifically at the characteristics of the perpetrators and maybe try to conduct some sort of informal fact-finding, facts about the perpetrators that actually women were too afraid to report.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So perhaps through letters that come in through Congress, there might be a way to try and trace and find out what happened to those people, their service and their career. Did they have other problems, other abuse they committed later in the service?
Colonel RIPLEY. I have one comment.
Ms. SANCHEZ. I am sorry, yes?
Colonel RIPLEY. The committee had, of course, 90 days, which was a short period. Nevertheless, I believe the findings, the recommendations, conclusions and whatnot are certainly substantiated by what we heard and what we saw.
Had we had more time, I believe it would have been helpful and interesting if we had made a second trip, toward the end of our proceedings, at a time when all hands at the academythe leadership, the faculty, certainly the cadetsknew what we had discovered and how our investigation had rolled out and the fact that the attitude and the climate had revealed certain things that they were not willing to either face or to admit to and, with that knowledge, to re-ask some of the same questions we had asked earlier on, on our trip there, at a later date.
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you.
And I guess, Mr. Chairman, I would just say that this whole issue of culture, the cultural change, is a very difficult one. And we might try to go back and take a look at other occasions in the armed services where maybe a different type of culture change might have taken place and what would be a successful model to try to get this portion of it done, because it seems to be the real root of the problem.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. MCHUGH. I could not agree with the gentlelady more. It is a huge problem that obviously, when you have the kind of survey numbers we have seen with respect to a general attitude amongst the male cadets toward the female cadets, there is something terribly amiss that has to be addressed.
Gentlelady yield back?
Ms. SANCHEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank you, gentlelady.
Esteemed member of the subcommittee, gentleman from Georgia, Dr. Gingrey?
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. First of all, let me say, as a new member of not only this committee but of the Congressthis 108th Congress is my first opportunityand realizing that some of this apparently hasthis problem at the Air Force Academyhas been going on for up to ten years.
And I think it was suggested earlier that maybe the Armed Services Committee in general and the Subcommittee on Total Force in specific was not doing all that they should be doing in the way of oversight and responsiveness to a problem like this. I cannot speak for those prior Congresses because I was not here and I was not aware of the problem.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But I certainly can speak for Chairman Hunter and Subcommittee Chairman John McHugh, to my left. And the responsiveness that I have seen from them has been thorough, almost immediate.
And I really commend them for that. And, in fact, this whole committee, this subcommittee, the ranking members, both sides of the aisle, I think the response has been good. In fact, it is been excellent.
And that is very appropriate. I think that, General Bunting, you had mentioned in your remarksand it is not surprising to me, as superintendent of Virginia Military Institute (VMI), that you are a no-nonsense kind of guy. And talking about those boards of visitors at the Air Force Academy and the kinds of board meetings that occurred, I guess, maybe once a year and that it was kind of or sounded like a social cocktail party and that sort of thing.
But I would imagine that those members, whoever they were, whoever they are, took a lot for granted maybe. You know, the policy of the schoolIntegrity First; Service Above Self; Excellence In All We Do. They probably, you know, had a false sense of security that that is exactly what was going on.
And they did not need to delve into or ask questions. And maybe they were spoon-fed, not unlike the board of trustees for the Enron Corporation and some of these outside the military get led into a trap.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think that this committee, your committee, in this report has done an excellent job. And of course, I commend Ms. Fowler, Congresswoman Fowler. And she is originally from my State of Georgia. And her dad, State Senator Culver Kidd, was one of the most outstanding public servants in the State of Georgia.
And I know that when she was picked to head this panel, I knew that we would get a good report. I have not thoroughly looked at the report. But I certainly plan to do so.
I guess in the way of questions, though, I would like to maybe address it to Dr. Miller and maybe, to some extent, Colonel Ripley. It seemed to me that in your comments a little earlier, that you were suggesting that maybe some of the students, some of the young men and womenmen particularlythat were admitted to the Air Force Academy were not done so with the proper oversight.
That maybeI think you used the term ''waivers''too many waivers were granted. And you, just a second ago, said you wonder what the force would look like if more attention was given to those who really wanted a career in the Air Force, rather than maybe those who come for another reason.
When we first started hearings on this issue, several months ago, and we heard primarily from the hierarchy of the Air Force, I asked this question about kind of a disaggregation, if you will, of the perpetrators and where they came from and what their background was. And were they the students who were recommended by members of Congress and they met all the academic requirements?
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Or were some of thema disproportionate number of thempossibly students who had waivers and were admitted not only with a lower academic standard, but possibly maybe a lower moral standard as well. And that bothered me.
And the answer I heard at that time was no, that that had been looked at very carefully and that was not the case. And it was kind of a broad spectrum. And I did not need to concern myself with that.
But again, I have not read all the details of the report. But I still am concerned about that.
And you talk about it a little bit. And maybe you would like to elaborate just a little bit more. Is there a problem with that?
And finally, before you answer, I am really surprisedI guess I should have known thisthat there is no criminal background check done on these students that are recommended by us for admission to the service academies.
Ms. MILLER. We do not know fully the importance of those factors. The General Counsel Working Group had two short paragraphs.
They did some very general analysis: all athletes versus non-athletes. But I think you need to distinguish among those: those who were recruited in, who members of the athletic team tried to recruit them to come to the Air Force Academy and they were granted waivers for having below standard academic scores, from those who might be excellent students and excellent athletes.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So I think we need a more sophisticated analysis of those than we have been privy to or that we have heard reported anywhere.
Ms. FOWLER. General Nardotti has a point to make on that.
General NARDOTTI. Just in response to your point about the lack of criminal record checks. Keep in mind that when you are dealing with 17-and 18-year olds, the recordsanything that they may have done would have been sealed and would not come up in a formal records check. So that would probably not be a useful exercise to go through.
And then I think it is understandable at the academy and anyone involved in the screening process would say it is so competitive to get the recommendations that you need to get into the academy, it is very unlikely that somebody who has been in any kind of serious trouble would get the kind of recommendations and support that they would need from all quarters to get into the institution in the first place.
I think that may account for the lack of the . . .
Dr. GINGREY. Well, help me out with this. And again, forgive me if my naivety as a new member does not allow me to know the answer to this question.
But are there students that are admitted that come through a process other than the recommendation of a member of Congress?
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. MILLER. Yes. And in fact, the majority of those who are granted academic waivers are nominated by the academy superintendent. They are not the first nominations of members of Congress.
The President can also nominate.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Dr. Miller. And I suspected that was the case.
And again, I take my responsibility in regard to making recommendations for students to the service academies to be one of the highest callings, the highest duties that I have. And I am sure that there are 534 other members of this Congress that feel the same way.
If somebody that I recommended to the Air Force Academy was one of these that had this type of an attitude toward women or that ended up being a sexual predator and ever did anything like that, I would certainly feel that it was a reflection on my lack of proper oversight.
And I know all my colleagues feel the same way. So if there are students that are actually guilty of this attitude and/or acts that are getting to the service academies, not through recommendation from members of Congress but possibly granted waivers, whether it is for their athletic ability or whatever, I think that that is something that we really need hopefully to take, if we have not already, a real close look at.
General BUNTING. May I respond quickly? I think no effort on behalf of ascertaining the moral fitness of these candidates should be spared. On the other hand, there is no profession in which early estimates of fitness for that profession are less reliable than the military.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
If you look at most of the people whose names we revere in American history who are graduates of Annapolis and West Point, almost invariably, they entered with relatively modest academic credentials and graduated halfway down their class or lower.
I mention that because one of my colleagues earlier talked about what if we could take only the best qualified and that sort of thing. To have done that would have been to have lost Eisenhower and Marshall and Patton and Grant and practically everybody else whose name resonates here.
Dr. GINGREY. But I think though, general, we should never misjudge or rarely misjudge character. That is my point.
General BUNTING. Absolutely. And of course, that would be my point. No effort on behalf of ascertaining moral fitness should be spared.
But for the rest, academic acuity, SAT scores and things like that, those are very defective indices in this profession.
Colonel RIPLEY. My comment, congressman, with reference to the same issue, is I can rarely recall, during my time on the admissions board, any waiver other than athletic, an athletic waiver. I cannot even categorize the rest of them.
And certainly, even without the consideration of a waiver, if any indication of moral turpitude or a criminal record came up, it was an automatic drop. These issues were clearly surfaced by any of the processes we looked at.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Sometimes we found, of all things, indications in the essay, which is a required part and a very important part; sometimes in recommendations from teachers or community leaders, clergy, things like that. But it is wrong to focus on the athletic waiver. And I think anyone would agree that that is a critically important aspect of any admissions selectivity.
It is wrong to use them as a whipping boy. And I know that is not anyone's intent. But it gravitates to that because that is the largest and almost the exclusive waiver we grant.
At the same time, the ability of that potential cadet and midshipman to carry on with the academic program is the critical limitation. And if I am aware of this, it is because I was the so-called ''athletic National Academy Athletic Association (NAAA) reader'' on the board.
And we would make that determination. If it was impossible for a particular candidate to get through our program, which was very much engineering oriented, then no amount of waivers would get him into the program, period.
Dr. GINGREY. And I thank the panel members. And I thank you, Mr. Chairman. I know my time has expired.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman.
Let me also express my appreciation for his gracious comments about this chairman and also the chairman of the full committee. But I want to state: the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And we have always had good intentions.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But I think there are lessons for this subcommittee, whomever may chair it now and into the future, and this Congress to do our job more effectively as well. And I know the gentleman would agree with that.
And I am not questioning that portion of it. But I just want to make sure that we all include ourselves in the learning process as we go forward here.
So I thank him for his valuable expertise and his medical background that I think is very, very helpful in these issues, as always.
The gentleman from Colorado, an esteemed member, as I mentioned, of the full committee, subcommittee chairman and someone who has been very involved in this issue, my good friend, Mr. Hefley.
Mr. HEFLEY. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for letting me sit in on this. And I am cognizant of the fact I am a guest. And I will try not to take very much time.
But I would like to say, first of all, thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the seriousness with which you have taken this and which your committee has taken this subject. And then to say to this panel, Tillie and I served together and sat up here together for a long time. And I had enormous respect for Tillie; did not know most of the rest of you when you were appointed.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
But I cannot tell you how pleased I am with this particular panel and with the workmanship that you did. I hope, the rest of your life, you will feel this is 90 days well spent, because I think it is.
I think the plan of action that General Jumper and Secretary Roche came out with was a good foundation. I think that is what you said in the committee, in the report.
But you have taken it a step further. And I think you have given us exactly what we need at this time. And I really do appreciate that.
Just to emphasize what the chairman asked at the outset about Secretary Roche. It is my feeling that there are two or three members of the Senate that are trying to hang the chicken around Secretary Roche's neck for this scandal, for whatever reason.
I do not know what the reason is, maybe because they do not want him to be Secretary of the Army. I am not sure what it is.
My sense was that, first of all, prior to this happening, when he was appointed Secretary of the Air Force, he came to me and talked about his specific concerns about the academic situation at the academy and the curriculum at the academy and the relationship of the athletic program to the academic program. In other words, he took a hands-on interest in the academy on these things, even before this came up.
And when this came up in January, when it broke, I could not find two people who were more engaged than Secretary Roche and General Jumper. They were fighting a war in Iraq. They were getting ready to fight a war in Iraq and later were.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And yet, they devoted an enormous amount of time to this and were very cooperative with me and were in my office. Heather and I met with them, I cannot tell you how many times over those months.
And so I was pleased to hear you say thatif I interpret what you said correctlythat these two gentlemen were part of the solution, not part of the problem. And is that correct, Ms. Fowler? Would you say that is a correct statement?
Ms. FOWLER. Yes, Congressman Hefley. And first, I want to thank you for your leadership because you have been a member of the Board of Visitors at the academy, have been a staunch advocate of making sure things were done right there.
I know you are currently the acting chairman of the board. So you are going to be overseeing some of these changes. And I think they are very fortunate to have you on that board because you truly care about the academy and about making it the kind of institution it always has been and should be.
So I think they are fortunate to have you there and have you in that role at this point in time. And yes, you are correct that the information that we have had with dealing with Secretary Roche and General Jumper has been very positive. I mean they, as soon as they had the information, proceeded to act on it.
They promulgated the Agenda for Change, even before they had the final report from the working group because they knew they could not wait until cadets were there in June to start movement. And so while, as we said, it was a beginning, it was a good beginning. And then we have been building on that.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. HEFLEY. Well, you have done good work. And we are proud of the academy. We have always been proud of the academy, of all of our academies.
And we are proud of most of the young people at the United States Air Force Academy.
Ms. FOWLER. Right.
Mr. HEFLEY. But we are not proud of those who perpetrate these kind of crimes against innocent victims. And we have to solve this problem. And I think you have gone a long ways towards helping us do that with this.
Speaking of the Board of Visitors, my sense has been for a long time that the Board of Visitorsand General, I would agree with your statementsthe Board of Visitors has been mostly expected to be a cheerleading squad. And if you look at the charter of the Board of Visitors, which I am sure you did, as based on your recommendations here, the charter basically outlines the Board of Visitors' makeup in order to facilitate the appropriations process.
You have to have one member from the House Appropriations, one member from the Senate Appropriations. That is not what the Board of Visitors should be.
And I raised the issue several times at the Board of Visitors meetings about accountability. And it is obvious that is not really what they wanted.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I think we need to restructure, as you have indicated, the Board of Visitors. I do not think there needs to be as many members of Congress on the Board of Visitors.
Congressmen, I understand they are busy. On weekends, they want to get back to their districts and do that kind of thing.
But this job needs to be taken not as an honor, although it is, but it ought to be taken as a responsibility. And I am not sure that is the way it is been taken.
There are members on that Board of Visitors list that I have never seen at a Board of Visitors meeting in the years that I have been there. But they are there. And they have been there for many, many years.
And I am not casting stones at anyone in particular, because my attendance probably has not been what it ought to be either. But I have tried totried totake it seriously.
But I do not think you take it seriously when all they want you to do is to be a cheerleader. You have to feel you have some responsibility. You all took this seriously because it was a responsibility that was given to you.
Mr. Chairman, there are some recommendations here, that Ms. Fowler and the others have indicated us, that I do not think are very controversial, part of which is the restructuring of the Board of Visitors. I do not think that would be very controversial. I certainly do not think that broadening the dean search would be very controversial.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I would like to work with you and Ms. Wilson and whoever else to try to come up with those recommendations that are not very controversial, see if we cannot get them in the conference committee even before that closes this year, so that we move this report off. I do not want this to be a reportwe get hundreds of these, Tillie. You remember it.
I do not want this to be a report that goes on my shelf and is never looked at again. If we could kick this off with some of these recommendations. And then, the ones that are more controversial, do not shy away from, but give them a little more thought and take a little more time. And make sure that the work these people have done is not in vain.
And with that, Mr. Chairman, I did not do a very good job of asking questions here, I think. But I did feel very strongly about what you have done. And you have done a great job and a great service to your country.
And thank you very much.
Ms. FOWLER. Thank you, Congressman. You are going to be in a key position, as far as implementation goes. So we appreciate what you are going to be doing. And I am pleased to hear of your support for these recommendations because hopefully they will be implemented and we can move forward with them.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank the gentleman and again praise him for his concern and focus. And let me just respond to his closing comments.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I agree there are some portions of this that we couldand I think we shouldtry to pursue in the conference committee report: the applicant pool or the candidate pool for certain dean positions, et cetera. There are, in my opinionand it is only my opinionsome very positive recommendations with respect to the Board of Visitors, particularly the reference to requirements of attendance and the failure to attend two in a row and some others.
And maybe I am a bit prejudiced here, as I said a ten-year member of the Board of Visitors at West Point. And General Nardotti did notice that board, of which I was a member at the time, responded proactively prior to the Air Force Academy's issues on the question of sexual abuse.
I am not sure why it is, if you are a member of Congress, all of a sudden you are suspect. But, having said that, I think we can clearly look at some things with respect to the membership and the expectation that you show up.
And I know the kinds of references the gentleman is making with respect to the Air Force Academy, because I have seen them at West Point as well. So we are going to look at those. And I would certainly welcome the opportunity to work with the gentleman and gentleladyall the membersto see which, if any, we could do.
There are some problems with out-of-scope provisions, however, that the gentleman knows become somewhat problematic in terms of negotiations. But we do need to make sure, as the gentleman said, that this is not a report that sits on the shelves.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
There are very positive recommendations here that we need to act on. And if the conference providesthis conference that we are now engaged inprovides that opportunity, we need to do that.
Mr. HEFLEY. I agree.
Mr. MCHUGH. And I thank the gentleman.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I commend your interest and work in calling together this public hearing, and the ranking member as well.
I have been in and out of this meeting. But believe me, I am very interested in the situation at the academy.
I had a very interesting chat with the general earlier. And it is really sad to think that we are all here today, coming before Congress, on something like this.
You know, you think of military academies where you send your young sons and daughters for the greatest of discipline and character building. And then we come up with something like this.
And in looking at the statistics of the allegations over the last ten-year period, you find they have not gone anywhere. They are at the same level.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I think the Chairman mentionedshe mentionedthat so many are unreported cases. So it is truly sad.
And I want to say that I am going to look very carefully at the report. And I have looked at the recommendations. And I certainly support them.
Hopefully, we will all take another good look at this. And my question, one simple question, is I am sure thatand maybe this has been brought up beforebut the other academies, West Point and Annapolis, are the statistics or anything similar. Could you answer that, Ms. Tillie?
Ms. FOWLER. Yes, our charge was not to review the other two academies. But I do understand that the Department of Defense Inspector General is compiling a survey that will be issued to all three of the academies in December, covering these issues.
So there will be some uniform way of comparing those statistics after those results come back in December. So right now, there has not been a uniform way to do that.
Ms. BORDALLO. And I thank you very much for your many, many countless hours of working and looking at the school and putting this report together. And hopefully, Congress will be able to assist you in getting things in order and returning the academy to where it was when it was first founded many, many years ago.
So I thank you very, very much.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. FOWLER. Thank you.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MCHUGH. The gentlelady from New Mexico, has her name has been ofttimes cited here, a leader on military issues in general and very knowledgeable about the academy, as one of its more esteemed graduates.
Mrs. WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wanted to join others in commending all of you on your work, particularly having done it in such a short period of time.
I read your report over the last two nights and found it to be more insightful and more comprehensive than we have received heretofore, including from the Air Force's own review. And so you have done a very good job on a very difficult issue and I think with tremendous credibility.
And I wanted to thank you for what you have done. And it kind of validates, I think, the decision to have an external review.
While you had limited resources, you also did not labor under some of the constraints or the fears that an internal review has to cope with. And so I very much appreciate it. And you have done very good work.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
It is hard to decide whether I am more sad or angry at some of the things that you have revealed, some of them that have been revealed for the first time, particularly the extent of Air Force headquarters' knowledge of what was going on and their failure to act, which, to my knowledge, has not been previously revealed.
That the surgeon general, the Inspector General, the judge advocate general, successive chiefs of staff and previous secretaries of the Air Force knew they had a serious problem. And they did not do anything.
And we deserve better. I think we all deserve better.
I had a couple of questions that occurred to me in areas that I think I wanted your thoughts on. You talk about, in your report, the structuresand there are multiple ideas that come forward to how to fix a problem, but the structures to ensure that change occurs.
I mean, we have a very short attention span in this town, a short attention span in the Congress. And when leadership changes, focus goes on to something else, to the next crisis.
Well, you mentioned particularly this executive steering group. But are there other ideas for structures or things that need to be put in place to ensure that the results are there for the changes that you have recommended and the Agenda for Change recommends?
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. FOWLER. Well, we stress that there has beenone of the problems has been a lack of continuity of oversight, for the very reason you mention. I mean, people come and go, and particularly in the military.
We recommend now that the superintendent should stay there four years and the commandant three years. That is been part of the problem, the leadership at the academy has turned over fairly rapidly.
The commandant sometimes is only there 18 months. They have barely gotten there before they are gone.
So there is definitely a need of continuity of oversight. But external oversight is very important, as well as internal.
And we have really come up, I think, with three key recommendations in that arena. One is the Board of Visitors. As you restructure it and you empower that board, then it is there continuously to exercise oversight of these issues and others.
Another is the Congress, that this committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee should make it a point that on their calendar every year is a hearing to review these sort of issues at each of the academies, really. And as you receive these reports back that you have mandated in the defense bill, then you need to have hearings and have meetings to discuss those.
And then the third is the executive steering group, that within the Pentagon there be made permanent this executive steering group that Secretary Roche recommended in his oversight memo, that has been established. But it only has been given a one-year life term.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
We think that needs to be permanent. So then you would have an entity at the academy; that is the Board of Visitors. You would have the Congress. And you would have an entity in the Pentagon.
And among those three, somebody should be picking up on these problems. If you have three entities that are supposed to be doing continuous oversight, then this stuff should not be falling through the cracks anymore, like it has over the past ten years.
Mrs. WILSON. One of the questions that I think has come up is the academy reports directly to the chief of staff. Most of the other organizations that report directly to the chief of staff are substantial organizations.
And sometimes, I worry that the academy is always the last thing in the in box. You know, it is the organization that is out there at the edge of the Rampart Range in Colorado. And it must be going fine. But I have other things to do.
Did you consider whether it should be put under another four-star?
Ms. FOWLER. We mention that in our report because, if you remember, Secretary Roche recommended that it report to the education and training command. And he lost that battle because General Jumper really wants it reporting to him.
I think the chiefs really, most of them feel strongly about that relationship there. And so the Air Force dropped that. They are no longer pushing that.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And we felt we would leave that to the Air Force. As long as you can set up this executive steering group that is doing this oversight, then while it can still report officially to the chief, there is still going to be an oversight group in the Pentagon that is going to be really overseeing it.
And that is what is needed. Because, as we said earlier, chiefs fight wars. And they have other things that they are doing too besides overseeing. I hate to think how many hours General Jumper has spent on this issue over the past six months while he was also fighting a war in Iraq and doing some other key things too.
So I think it would be helpful to the chief, as well as to this whole issue of oversight, to have an entity like that.
Mrs. WILSON. I am very interested in working with the chairman on some of the things in conference that we can get done. I wanted to concur with General Bunting. I think the Board of Visitors has been largely ineffective and structured to not really be an effective oversight or even an active involved Board of Regents, as we have at many of the universities in our hometowns.
And I also did want to say that there have been times when Secretary Roche and I have crossed swords on some things. And we are not afraid to do that.
But I have to say, on this issue, he and General Jumper have been very actively engaged in a way that I wish their predecessors were, or we would not be here today. And I think they have addressed this seriously, perhaps for the first time.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
You did mention in your report though some accountability things thatand with respect to changing the selection pool for the dean. And I think I wanted to ask you directly. And perhaps this is not a fair question.
But you are critical of the dean and his failure or his contribution to this failure. Is it your view that the dean should resign or retire at this point?
Ms. FOWLER. It is our view that the DOD IG needs to review his performance. That, based on the information that we had, we were very concerned with the failure of leadership, really, about General Wagie.
He had the Cadet Counseling Center under him. He had all of the sexual assault survey information. He never did anything with them. He said they were not scientific and never had them corrected.
I mean, he had the information that some others say they did or did not have. But he had it; never acted on it.
That is a failure of leadership. And we are very concerned with that.
But we included him in our request of the DOD IG to review his performance in more depth than we could. It is my understanding that he is retiring next spring. And we are concerned that the new dean be able to be picked from a larger pool.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Right now, the only people who could be considered for that new dean would be the 21 permanent professors at the academy. And there is always a need for new thinking, creativity, ideas in an academic institution.
And to limit that pool to only those 21 people, we think is too limiting for the Air Force Academy, or for any of the academies, really. And so it is requested that that go ahead and be changed so that you will not put someone in place next spring that then you have for the next three to five years. Again, you were not able to go outside to look for someone else.
You still might end up picking someone from those 21. But at least it can be a more competitive process. And it can be right now.
Mrs. WILSON. Mr. Chairman, if there is a way to do that, I think we also would all agree that the dean at the academy is an unusual position that is not just a kind of a normal, general officer position, in which you are a dean of a large, accredited academic institution. But I suspect that the pool of qualified potential deans is broader than just those 21 permanent professors.
I would ask one final question. And that has to do with the issue of leadership and role models. And perhaps the generals, those of you who have worked at some of the others or who have been associated with some of the other service academies can address this a little bit more detailed than in your report.
One of my concerns has to do with the assignment of air officers commanding, the young officers most directly in contact with cadets. And I suspect, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when we had a pilot shortage, a rated shortage, I suspect that they changed who was being assigned and how they were being prepared to be those first-line officer, supervisor role models for young cadets.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And all of us, I mean, any of you who have ever worn the uniform probably remember the name and middle initial of your first commander. And that has a tremendous impact.
I wonder if you would address the issue of leadership and role models and the assignment policies for how you get the kinds of role models you want in those positions.
Colonel RIPLEY. I would like to comment on that, congressman. The cadets gave us a very unique viewpoint of that our very first day there, and that was that they rarely saw their company officers, squadron officers, past any time in the afternoon.
And rarely would they show up before 10:00 in the morning. And they were on hunting trips.
Now of course, this is a generalization. But uniformly, the cadets rarely identified with the squadron officers, very rarely.
Mrs. WILSON. That is appalling to me.
Colonel RIPLEY. Well, we identified that as well.
Ms. MILLER. I would just like to clarify, that was in the cases where we foundthat was particularly with victims or people who are reporting problems in their units, that their AOCs were not around.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Colonel RIPLEY. And instead of seeing this individual as a focal point, someone that they could turn to for help or for advice or, indeed, to model after, they did not see them as accessible. The terribly important accessibility rule.
And they certainly did not see them as someone that they wanted to model their career after. And frankly, as we got into it even deeper and talked to some of the permanent personnel there, we found out that it was not consideredit was definitely not considereda distinguished assignment at that point in a young officer's career.
That officer should be out in a squadron someplace flying, as opposed to being back babysitting cadets. It was looked upon in an almost derogatory way.
Mrs. WILSON. I would say that that is a significant change from the 1980s at the Air Force Academy and, I would venture to say, at the other service academies. And that certainly was not my experience when I was there.
And that lack of role models and lack of direct adult supervision from the time you brush your teeth in the morning until the time you turn the lights out at night has to be a factor in the solution.
Colonel RIPLEY. I will speak for the Naval Academy and let my distinguished colleague talk about West Point. But I can concur that the Naval Academy, for both naval officers and marine officers, it is one of the most premier assignments you can receive and highly sought after in the fleet.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And the company officers, they are calledthey are the company officers and the battalion officers as well that they get therego through a very rigid selectivity process. And they represent all the combat fields, all fields in the Navy and Marine Corps and, of course, are both male and female.
General NARDOTTI. At the military academyand I would say this is true not just for the tactical officers, but for the members of the faculty, the military members of the facultythere is great care in the selection. Because the expectation is going to be that it is not just the tactical officer who is the example. But those officers who are in the classroom that have more time with the cadets need to demonstrate the same example.
And actually, one of the things that we heard in the course of our visit to the academy, the Air Force Academy, was that there was, at least at one pointand they seemed to have recognized this, so that you understand. They understood the issue of a problem with AOCs.
But we did hear some testimony that there was kind of awell, there was a difference in standards and attitude between the faculty, on some issues, and the AOCs, with respect to how seriously they took the standards. And General Bunting, I am sure, will address this.
But he has pointed out many times and made the point that the faculty, there are many opportunities for mentorship and examples among faculty. And that really needs to be part of the process as well.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General BUNTING. I would just add to that, the great text in education, as far as I am concerned, is, ''The Idea of a University,'' by Cardinal Newman. And he talks at great length about the importance of teachers or anybody who makes his or her living in a university setting.
Being themselves the product of that which they believethat is to say a young captain, a young major, who is a company officer at the Air Force Academymust demonstrate in his or her character and commitment and intelligence and in every other thing what it means to be a product of the kind of education that the Air Force Academy offers.
I also think that if that problem is as acute as we sense it is, it is one that is fairly easily remedied. I mean, imagine if the chief of staff called in 30 young captains and said, ''You are the cream of the Air Force. I am giving you this assignment. I trust you. Think what you can do for these young people.''
But we did hear that walking around the Air Force Academy quite frequently, that, ''I never saw my AOC. I never saw these people.'' That was a . . .
Ms. MILLER. I am happy to report that part of the Agenda for Change has been ensuring some adult supervision in the dorms, 24/7. Also, I visited in August and learned that they were much more aggressive in seeking out quality AOCs. And now, they are providing some training for them in how to fulfill their role.
And in fact, AOCs can receive a counseling degree. So that is one thing that the Air Force has done on its own to try to improve.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. FOWLER. We address that on page 71 of our report. And we do commend the Agenda for Change for recognizing that it has become a problem with the quality and the training of these AOCs. And they are addressing that.
General NARDOTTI. If I could add just one final point to that? This was an observation from General Hosmer when he was talking about the AOCs and some of the officers from other services over there, filling essentially the same role.
And he said invariably, at least this was his experience. And he was not speaking for all the superintendents. But basically, the officers that were held in the highest regard were, in many cases, the Army and Marine officers who were there.
And if you think about it, if you consider where an Army or a Marine officer is in experience at that point in their career, Army and Marine officers have much more exposure in heavily peopled environment, where they have to deal with counseling and just leadership issues. And I am not sure, I do not know enough about Air Force career patterns to say whether you can simply draw that line at the same point in all the services, where even an officer who may be outstanding in whatever he or she has done in the Air Force at a certain point, they may not have the other skill set that you need to deal with the population, from the leadership perspective that is required at the academy.
Mrs. WILSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And again, thank all of you for your service. You have done a very good job. And I appreciate it.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. FOWLER. Thank you, Congresswoman, for all that you have done to help the Air Force Academy. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank the gentlelady.
We have completedoh, I am sorry. I did not get to Ms. Davis yet. She has been very patient and a very valued member of the full committee, the gentlelady from California, Ms. Davis.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I stayed because I think that this report is so compelling. And I appreciate your leadership, Mr. Chairman. I really enjoyed hearing also from my colleague, Congresswoman Wilson, because she has been there and has some insights as well.
I think that everybody has focused a lot on the culture. And I think that is important.
The failure of leadership, I think you all have addressed it. I found this chart just to be so interesting that you put that together in a way that really demonstrates that everybody has to be held accountable. I mean, you do not just let things go.
There was one particular issue that was mentioned. And just very briefly. You are recommending that there is a clear policy for reporting sexual assault.
And there has not been much discussion of that, but the whole atmosphere, which we know obviously appears at colleges, at academies, wherever young people are, is the issue of drinking. And perhaps some of the double standards connected with that, the fact that women were afraid to report because there was fear of retribution, that they would be called out for infractions or whatever.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And I was just wondering, should this be getting more attention? Or is this an issue that is, you know, it is part of it, but not so compelling or important?
I think the other issue was about education and health care, mental health care and the availability of people who are there, who are counseling, more peer education.
Ms. FOWLER. Well, on the alcohol, we do have a recommendation in there about better training and supervision on alcohol use. About 40 percent of the incidents of those 142 involved alcohol.
We did not go as deep into that because the Agenda for Change and some more regulations that have come out since that are really dealing with the alcohol policy. If they follow through with these, they are setting in place some new policies on underage drinking and on cracking down on this.
You know, if you are underage and drinking or provide it, you are disenrolled. And they need to start doing that. They need to start sending a message to these young people.
Because a lot of the problems were, they were sneaking in alcohol to the dorms, drinking it, getting drunk. And then problems would occur.
And this is a problem that goes on in colleges throughout the country. But this is a unique institution, just like the other two service academies.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I mean, the graduates of these academies go on to be officers in the United States military. Their educations are paid for by the taxpayers. They are held to a higher standard than students in regular institutions.
You would like to hold them all to that standard. But at least in these, we need to hold them to a much higher standard.
Secretary Roche, I know, is very concerned on this whole issue of alcohol. And they are taking some steps to deal with that.
And so we mention it some in there. But we do not go into any depth because they were already dealing with that.
And then I think on the mental health and the peers, Sally, would you like to talk on that a little bit?
Dr. SATEL. Sure. I am just going to say a word more about alcohol. You probably read that 40 percent of the incidents did involve alcohol.
And we spoke at length with the new Commandant, General Weida, who spoke verywith great awareness of the fact that responsible drinking is not always going on and is certainly thinking of implementing ways to make that moreto make that happen. Because, as you know, there is a sports bar actually on the premises that the cadets can go to.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As far as mental health, I know there is the Cadet Counseling Center. We talked in the report about problems of oversight that did come under Dean Wagie's purview, and unfortunately did not seem to exert as much oversight as he should have.
So certainly, someone can seek out psychotherapy. What we were most concerned about though, in the specific case of an allegation of a woman who has been through this kind of a traumatic circumstance, is that she have the option of proceeding confidentially or not.
And, if she does proceed confidentially, that she is strongly encouraged to report, that she is given as much information and as much sense of the control over what can happen and a sense of really the urgency and importance of proceeding. Because there is nothing worse than feeling helpless and passive after a situation like that.
And it seems that there is no greater way to guarantee that that is the way you will feeland that in itself predisposes to greater depression and anxietythan not seeing the situation through and doing what you can to help get it resolved. So that is really the acute approach.
Certainly, if somebody is in an extreme clinical state, there are medications to be given and more acute psychiatric attention to be paid. But one of the main things we were concerned about is that action is taken to begin the journey to resolving this.
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Can I call on Ms. Carpenter for just a minute?
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. CARPENTER. I want to answerwe were talking about the peer counseling situation. And we have the CASIE program there. It is something that we did look at quite extensively.
The concerns that we have are that there is this CASIE program, in which there is the peer counseling relationship, which in talking with the cadets, they were very much in favor of this. They liked that opportunity to be available to them.
There were several cadets that we spoke to that said that they would access that. With the same token, there were cadets though that said they would not. And that is all part of the empowerment and giving options.
So with our recommendations, what we wanted to point out was that there is this process here, this CASIE program. The cadets are placing value in it.
However, in certain instances, we felt there was concern that the CASIE reps, these peer counselors, were stepping over their boundaries. They were going on beyond that active listening and support process and jeopardizing the process for some of these victims.
So we wanted to be very clear, not taking away from the CASIE program, but to give some direction that it needs better guidance. It needs to be under that psychotherapist, giving that privilege option.
They need better training, better instructions, monitoring, and then looked at again down the road, to see if it is still an effective process and needed.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. DAVIS OF CALIFORNIA. Thank you. I appreciate that. And I appreciate your interest in looking at the other academies and the kind of policies that they have that encourage the reporting and that it does not become a secondary problem for them, the fact that they happen to have had the sexual assault, and that they get retribution because they were in a situation that was compromised.
Appreciate that. Thank you very much.
Mr. MCHUGH. Thank the gentlelady.
Dr. Snyder had indicated that he had another line or two he wished to pursue. I would be happy to yield to him.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We will have you done by breakfast.
I just want to make one comment. I want to go back to this business about congressional oversight, Representative Fowler. And it is really just a comment.
But I disagree with your assessment that we were put on notice just at the beginning of the year and could not have done anything. I mean, on your own chart there, you have two General Accounting Office (GAO) reports, one in 1994 and then came back in March of 1995, that said things are, in fact, worse.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think you quote them as saying 78 percent of women at the three service academies report that they had been harassed. And it is worse in 1990 and 1991, including physical groping.
Now that was a very volatile time in the Congress and in the House. But if one of the bodies had said, ''You know, three service academies were reporting increasing problems with sexual harassment.'' Now this is two years after you begin your timeline in 1993.
If they had said, ''Why do we not do a series,''at your suggestion, ''a very vigorous oversight hearing, in which we will hear from the people?'' I will bet at that hearing, you would have had an indication that, wait a minute, it is more than just harassment. We have sexual assaults going on.
Because you report that there were people that were aware of it and trying to do something. And so I will go back and say what I said before.
If we had started sometime in 1995 and Congress had gone in 1996, in 1997, in 1998, in 1999, in 2000, in 2001 and 2002 and 2003 on a systematic way of providing oversight, based on the information that Congress was given in 1994 and 1995, we may have solved this problem a whole lot sooner. We would have probably discovered, well wait a minute, a couple of the academies seem to be doing a better job than the third one.
What is the problem with that? I mean, that is the whole point of oversight work.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I think the Congress was put on notice. And in my view, we dropped the ball.
Ms. FOWLER. I cannot remember exactly who requested that GAO report or who it went to. So our point in here was that we know it went to leadership at the Air Force and the Pentagon and that they did not follow through with it.
I am not sure whether it came to Congress or not. They normally do, in some form or another. So I would think it would. But I do not know.
But there was definitely some startling information in those two reports that was not followed up on by anyone.
Dr. SNYDER. This question of culture and climate. And to me, I think like a fish, a fish in a lake. I do not know if fish sleep or not.
But it wakes up in the morning and is the first thing it says to itself, ''Gee, I feel wet today?'' You know, does a fish feel the wet? I mean, that is to me what climate and culture is, that you do not notice it. It is just there.
And so it is concerning that you have 1,000, 1,200 a year coming out of the Air Force Academy that we think have been immersed in a culture for the last decade that we do not think is very healthy. And so what happens? They go on to other places.
Do they take that culture with them? And then we are now challenged with how do you change that culture?
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I want to ask about this leadership issue because, to me, it seems like that is the key, whether it is the school principal or anything else. You talk about the turnover in leadership. But if somebody is doing a bad job and they are a fish that does not feel the wet, what the hell good is it to keep them there for four years?
I think the key to me would be that there is a culture and a climate throughout the Air Force and throughout the military that when an officer gets a new command, that one of the first questions they ask is: where is the head? Where is the latrine?
What is our readiness level? Are we secure? And what is the culture or climate, so that my peoplemale, female, black, whitecan thrive and grow and feel secure in themselves?
I mean, I would think that that would be an important question that you would want to ask, particularly coming into an area either in a boot camp situation or in one of these academies where people are so young. So I am notI do not have any problem with extending these tours. I am not convinced that that is the solution.
I think the solution has to be that the people who are going in there start saying to themselves, ''This is one of the top priorities.'' And apparently that has not been the situation.
Ms. FOWLER. Well, it takes both: someone who cares and also someone who can be there long enough to affect change.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Dr. SNYDER. And then, where I think your report is going to be helpful is knowing what to do. I mean, when you start talking about issues of confidentiality, I mean, those are complex issues. I do not expect somebody who is just coming back from overseas someplace, a two-year deployment, to know about all the issues involving psychotherapy confidentiality issues.
Ms. FOWLER. Right.
Dr. SNYDER. I think that is all I wanted to ask, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. MCHUGH. I thank the gentleman.
I think that, as I said earlier, this committee, I would hopethis subcommittee and full committeethis Congress hopefully can learn from this and do a better job. I was not on this subcommittee in 1993, 1994 or 1995.
The recollection, however, in looking at the panel's report and the footnoting, is that the reports involved were focused solely on sexual harassment. I am not denying the reports of the nexus between sexual assault.
In fact, that was the issue: does harassment lead to assault? But I am not sure our predecessors can be directly blamed for ignoring sexual assault. But that is something we have to look at.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And we do need to . . .
Dr. SNYDER. Mr. Chairman, if I could just cite specifically some of these things, ''unwelcome, deliberate physical contact of a physical nature.'' Now that is considered harassment. But when one man starts grab-assing a young woman, I mean, in an unwanted, hostile way, I think that is something that we all ought to be put on notice that there may be something more going on.
Mr. MCHUGH. The record will note, ''grab-assing'' is an Arkansas term. [Laughter.]
I do not deny that. And we do have a responsibility. I want to be a little cautious in how far we indict our predecessors on this. But we need to look at it. We need to do better, no question about it.
I do have one final question. The report discusses some specific findings with respect to some specific officers in leadership at the academy that we have discussed previouslyGeneral Wagie, in his capacity as dean of faculty, and others.
It, in its findings, recommends that those officers' roles be directly examined, with respect to their failures, possible failures, and discharge of their duties in this relationship. You also have someI think critical is a fair wordcritical comments about the Air Force general counsel and the working group.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC However, in the recommendation, as I read it, you do not include the Air Force general counsel or the working group as recommended for further investigation. Do you think that would be an appropriate place to also pursue?
The issue being did they just punt the ball down the road? Or did they take deliberate actions or evasive actions to shield the leadership of the Air Force from culpability.
Ms. FOWLER. Well, we are not sure. As far as the Air Force general counsel, he was involved in a separate study in 2000-2001 and did not disclose that, as far as we could tell, at least to the working group.
He was on this current working group, but it does not appear in there anywhere. That caused us some concern there, but not as major as the deputy general counsel's lack of disclosure.
As I understand it, Mr. Kip At Lee, who is the deputy general counsel, he chaired a two-year long study. I mean, he was the chairman of it in 2000 and 2001 within the Pentagon on these issues.
He was a member of the general counsel's working group. And it is our understanding that he did not reveal to the working group or to the general counsel until probably around April, which is six or eight weeks before they were to release their report, of his involvement in that, of his chairmanship of it, which he certainly had a responsibility to have revealed that.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And that working group is not really dealt with in the general counsel's report. This, again, is staff of that working group that we felt that it went to some of the credibility of that report.
We think what is in the report is well done. It was the omissions in the report. And on page five and six of our report, we put bullets there of things that we discovered that were omitted from the general counsel's report.
Now their answer this week to me was, ''Well, that was not our charge. We were supposed to just look at this, not that.'' Our answer is, when you start a review and you uncover this information, that is been part of the problem in the past. It is partial reviews. You have to look at the whole picture.
And obviously, they knew some of this information that went to command, to leadership and to headquarters leadership. And they chose, for one reason or another, not to put it in.
But again, whether this was staff problems, whether different members of that staff did not disclose it. We are not blaming Ms. Walker particularly because I understand some of this she did not know until late in the process. But it should have been disclosed in the report.
Mr. MCHUGH. And I thank you very much for that. Do you think it would be appropriate and efficacious for the ranking member and I to include in our letter to the DOD that that particular aspect of it also be examined? Or not?
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Ms. FOWLER. Well, we did not ask for that.
Mr. MCHUGH. That is why I am asking.
Ms. FOWLER. We just wanted to point out, I mean, that report has been completed. We have gone ahead and revealed what they did not put in there. But we did want to point out that that was a deficiency in the report and raise the question as to why.
Mr. MCHUGH. And I appreciate what you are saying. But there are those who might suggestand I have had it suggested to me alreadythat this was a deliberate cover-up.
And I am not suggesting it was. I do not know. And I know you are not either.
But I am just wondering, is the potential for the charge serious enough to request and direct the DOD IG to look at that as well? I just do not know what you saw.
I am not asking you to make a judgment, do not misunderstand me, as to: was there a cover-up? But should we ask the DOD IG to look at that as well?
General NARDOTTI. Perhaps I could add to Congressman Fowler's comments. We focused on the previous leadership because of what we perceived as a problem in this respect, that too many people had presumed that nothing could be done to the past leadership.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
And we thought it isand we say this in the reportthat it is important to deal with the past leadership, even if they cannot be reached for any really meaningful discipline or action, to make it a matter of record: number one, to make clear what the expectation is of those who serve in positions of great responsibility, in terms of the level of performance they are expected to me, so that future leaders understand that; and number two, to put in proper context the failings of the past immediate leadership, who were removed from their positions.
The problem, one of the problems we have with the general counsel report, in terms of its approach, is that when you read it, you come away with the impression that the problem was at the academy and almost exclusively at the academy. And you get no appreciation from the report that headquarters was looking at this, at various times.
And we felt that that was a very serious omission. And it also avoids the point thatyou know, you are simply saying, well, it is the past and we are not going to deal with it. We found that unacceptable.
And that is why we say you need to make a matter of recordat least make it a matter of recordthat some people, the past leadership met or did not meet their responsibilities. We did not focus on the current leadership becausewell, first of all, with respect to the general counsel's issue and the issuing of that report, the critical piece to us was that information that we believed was important to paint the entire picture was omitted.
The reasons for it were secondary to the fact that that was omitted and the complete story was not told. And we did not want to get diverted from our principal mission of dealing with the other very important issues in this within the timeframe that we had.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
So we did not go off on a detailed examination of the general counsel issue. But the other point to remember is, of course, the current leadership are still subject to the prerogatives of the secretary of defense.
And we have pointed that out. We did not make a more comprehensive examination than to point out the factual inadequacies in the record that was presented by the general counsel's report.
And basically, the prerogatives with respect to what to do with people in leadership, including the general counsel, are there for the DOD leadership to deal with. There is no issue there that they are beyond the reach of DOD, which is a problem with the past leadership.
Mr. MCHUGH. Well, I thank you.
And amazing stamina from you good folks, not just today, although today is a pretty good example, but through the entire process. And let me reiterate what I tried to indicate in my opening comments, that you have really done an incredible amount of work here, given the time and resources available to you and work that is going to be very, very helpful to us as we, as I have said repeatedly here today, try to do a better job from our perspective.
And we deeply appreciate that. Appreciate your service. Again, our compliments and thanks to your very capable and able staff, who has sat there as well, very attentively. And I appreciate that as well.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So with our deepest thanks and with a request that, if we do have some other comments, perhaps you could find it in your hearts to respond to those in writing, should we forward those.
I would adjourn the hearing. And God bless you.
Ms. FOWLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[Whereupon, at 5:13 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]