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President Orders Review Of Sexual Assault In Military

President Obama has ordered a one-year review of the military's response to sexual assault within the ranks, saying his administration has "an urgent obligation" to respond to the problem.

"If I do not see the kind of progress I expect, then we will consider additional reforms that may be required to eliminate this crime from our military ranks," the president said in a statement on Friday.

As Reuters says:

"He acted in response to a spate of embarrassing sex-related incidents in the military that provoked strong calls for reform and a Pentagon report showing a 37 percent jump in the estimated number of cases of unwanted sexual contact last year."

The Associated Press reports:

"The president's remarks are his first on legislation that would crack down on sexual assault passed by the Senate late Thursday.

"Obama said Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey have been instructed to continue with their ongoing efforts to address the problem.

" 'I have also directed that they report back to me, with a full-scale review of their progress, by Dec. 1, 2014,' Obama said."

As we reported in August, Hagel issued a directive aimed at preventing sexual assault.

In the one-page memorandum from the defense secretary, Hagel "ordered enforcement of policies against inappropriate relationships between recruiters, instructors and trainee soldiers; establishing a victim-advocacy program in each service branch; giving commanders authority to transfer those accused of sexual abuse; and mandating a lawyer be appointed for all preliminary hearings involving allegations of sexual assault."

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