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.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, citing the recent Pay Our Military Act, will recall to work hundreds of thousands of furloughed civilian employees of the Department of Defense next week.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
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Jordain Carney
Dec. 16, 2013, 10:37 a.m.

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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