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Defense secretary Lloyd Austin demands US military sexual assault reports

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Defense Sec'y Austin demands sexual attacks reportsIn his first directive since taking office, US defense secretary Lloyd Austin has given his senior leaders two weeks to send him reports on sexual assault prevention programs in the military, and an assessment of what has worked and what hasn’t.

Austin’s memo, which went out Saturday, fulfils a commitment made to senators last week during confirmation hearings. Joe Biden’s pick, a retired army general, vowed to immediately address the problems of sexual assault and harassment in the ranks.

“This is a leadership issue,” Austin said in his two-page memo. “We will lead.”

Senator after senator demanded to know what Austin planned to do about the problem. Reports of sexual assaults have steadily gone up since 2006, according to department reports, including a 13% jump in 2018 and a 3% increase in 2019. The 2020 data is not yet available.

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