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Defense Department Shaking Up Sexual Assault Office Leadership Defense Department Shaking Up Sexual Assault Office Leadership

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Defense Department Shaking Up Sexual Assault Office Leadership

The move comes after a year of increased criticism for the department’s handling of sexual assault cases.

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Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced the personnel change on Monday.(Jacquelyn Martin - Pool/Getty Images)

The Defense Department's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office will have new leadership starting next month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced on Monday.

Major General Jeffrey J. Snow will take over the office in January, taking over for Major General Gary S. Patton, who is planning to retire in the spring.

 

Hagel praised the outgoing Patton, saying he "has a history of tackling tough assignments," and Patton said he was "heartened by signs of progress in combatting sexual assault" during his tenure.

The Pentagon has faced increased scrutiny during the past year for its handling of sexual assault cases, and others were less giving in their evaluation of Patton's work.

Danielle Brian, the executive director of the Project On Government Oversight, called the announcement the "first step in restoring credibility to the Pentagon's promise of reducing sexual assaults in the military."

 

The outside group previously called for Patton's resignation over an inspector general's report that alleged that while serving as the deputy commander of the NATO training mission in Afghanistan, Patton violated the Military Whistleblowers Protection Act, which bans personnel action against a member of the Armed Forces for speaking with an Inspector General, Defense Department audit, or member of Congress about a potentially illegal act.

Col. Steve Warren, a Defense Department spokesman, told Stars and Stripes that Patton's decision to retire is unrelated to the report.

Snow is currently the Army's director of Strategy, Plans, and Policy.

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