Posts Tagged With: United States Naval Academy

Expert on Gender and Violence To The Rescue

The Cadet Chapel at United States Air Force Ac...

The Cadet Chapel at United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christopher Kilmartin, a professor from Virginia will spend the upcoming academic
year teaching courses on gender at the (USAFA) Air Force Academy to combat
sexual assaults
.

He is a psychology instructor at
the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va., and will serve as
a visiting professor at USAFA, teaching “Men and Masculinity” in
the fall and “Interpersonal Violence” in the spring.

Neither
course is required of students. But so many have registered for the lone
section of “Men and Masculinity” that the academy is considering adding
another, said Col. Gary Packard, head of the academy’s Department of
Behavioral Sciences and Leadership.

“When I looked at his
background, he became my No. 1 candidate” for the department’s visiting
professor position, Packard said. “We need him here to deal with these
issues, especially those related to masculinity.”

Kilmartin will conduct research and consult with leaders during his time at the academy, Packard said.

Kilmartin
has previously worked with the U.S. Naval Academy to revise its sexual
assault and harassment prevention curriculum. He also wrote a script for
an Army
training film on the same topic.

His knowledge of military culture “gives him credibility right from the start,” Packard said.

Another trait Packard says will serve Kilmartin well at the academy: his sense of humor.

Kilmartin is also a stand-up comedian.

“I
think the cadets will gravitate toward him,” Packard said. “More
importantly, I think commanders and leadership will connect with him as
well.”

During Kilmartin’s two-plus decades of teaching courses on masculinity, the majority of his students have been females.

That’s less likely to be the case at the academy, where the majority of students are male.

“One
of the biggest struggles in teaching that area is getting men into the
room,” said Kilmartin, the author of the textbook “The Masculine Self.”

“The
way gender roles are constructed, a lot of men don’t feel comfortable
expressing interest in it. It takes a pretty self-aware man to get
interested in gender.”

Kilmartin’s fall class will examine how
masculinity is constructed, how men are socialized and how individuals
form gender ideology.

“There’s a lot of theory in the first part”
of the class, he said. “The second part includes discussion of men’s
issues: work, mental health, physical health, relationships, sexuality,
violence, and contemporary topics like the prison problem, pornography
and prostitution.”

As part of their coursework, Kilmartin will
assign his students to journal about gender stereotypes they observe in
their everyday lives.

“It’s a really powerful assignment, he said.
“By mid-semester, they realize it’s everywhere. Then they get mad at me
because they think they can’t watch TV anymore.

“Before, they
tend to look at things uncritically. When they get a new pair of lenses
to look at the world,
it can be annoying. You can pay a price for it,
but it can be of enormous benefit as well.”

His spring class will
offer an opportunity to examine violence committed by males, a topic
that is often overlooked because “people in dominate groups have the
luxury of having their identity remain invisible,” Kilmartin said.

It will also examine the origins and consequences of, and remedies to, interpersonal violence, he added.

Kilmartin’s
short-term goal is to increase sexual assault reporting rates at the
academy so that perpetrators, most of whom are serial offenders, are
stopped, he said.

“I’m not going to come in there and do magic,
but I’d like to do something,” he said. “Sometimes we forget that these
are young adults
, that many of them don’t have a lot of experience with
relationships and sexuality. We forget that because we put them in
uniform and they look like these machines and we think they have it all
together. But they’re kids in some ways. We need to talk with them like
kids.”

His ultimate goal is to “take a public health approach and
reduce the incidence of sex assault at the academy and the military at
large
.”

Arming cadets with knowledge on the topics of gender and violence isn’t just the right thing to do, he said.

It’s good for their careers.

“We
wouldn’t dream of sending leaders out into the world without computer
skills, management skills, leadership abilities,” he said. “There is no
way any commander is going to get out in the world and not have to deal
with people in his or her command who are women, who are gay men,
lesbians, maybe even someone transgendered.

“If you don’t
understand these different forms of identity and how they play out in
your organization, you’re just not going to be a good commander.”

During
the 2011-2012 academic year, sex assault reports involving Air Force
Academy cadets increased by about 50 percent over the previous academic
year,
accounting for the majority of reported assaults across the
nation’s three military academies
, according to a Defense Department
report released late last year. (NOTE: West Point, Annapolis, and AFA at Colorado Springs are not the only military academies in the U.S.. There is a Coast Guard Academy at New London, CT..)

Cadets have attended annual sexual
assault prevention training since 2005. An increase in reporting rates
is a sign that those training sessions are working, victim advocate at
the academy told The Gazette in January. (By Erin Prater)

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Categories: Military Justice | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Military Commanders Wake Up To Broad Reach Of Proposed Changes By Civilians To Military Justice Code

English: General Martin E. Dempsey, USA, 18thC...

English: General Martin E. Dempsey, USA, 18thChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Kirsten Gillibrand, New York's junior...

English: Kirsten Gillibrand, New York’s junior United States Senator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Uniform Code Of Military Justice (UCMJ) gives American military commanders  substantial power to discipline the troops they lead. However an epidemic of sexual assaults in the armed forces has Congress considering changes to that well established authority.

The big question is by how far and how wide?

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the four-star officers atop each service are scheduled to testify June 4th at a Senate hearing on congressional proposals to modify theUCMJ with the aim of staunching the escalating number of sexual assaults that have outraged the military and the public.

Dempsey and other military leaders say they are open to legislative solutions to the problem. But, they are deeply concerned that too drastic an overhaul by Congress will lead to unintended and alarming consequences.

Curbing too sharply a commander’s ability to decide how and when to punish or pardon service members will send a message there is lack of faith in the officer corps, and that in turn will undermine the efficiency and effectiveness of the military in peacetime and war, Dempsey warned in a recent letter to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Paradoxically, the Defense Department’s failure so far to change the military’s male-dominated culture is driving a vocal group of mainly female lawmakers led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., to advocate aggressive reforms.

Tinkering at the edges, they argue, won’t produce the seismic shift needed to send the message that sexist attitudes and behaviors will no longer be tolerated. Victims need to be confident that if they report a crime their allegations won’t be discounted and they won’t face retaliation.

The latest in a string of allegations came May 31, 2013.

The Pentagon said the U.S. Naval Academy is investigating allegations that three football team members sexually assaulted a female midshipman at an off-campus house more than a year ago, and a lawyer for the woman says she was “ostracized” on campus after she reported it.

The Naval Academy investigation follows several recent arrests: A soldier at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point was charged with secretly photographing women, including in a bathroom. The Air Force officer who led the service’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit was arrested on charges of groping a woman. And the manager of the Army’s sexual assault response program at Fort Campbell, Ky., was relieved of his post after his arrest in a domestic dispute with his ex-wife.

The Pentagon estimated in a report last month that up to 26,000 military members may have been sexually assaulted last year, up from an estimated 19,000 assaults in 2012, based on an anonymous survey of military personnel. While the number of sexual assaults members of the military actually reported rose 6 percent to 3,374 in 2012, thousands of victims are still unwilling to come forward despite new oversight and assistance programs aimed at curbing the crimes, the report said.

Those numbers and outrage over two recent decisions by Air Force generals overturning juries’ guilty verdicts in sexual assault cases are generating support for Gillibrand’s proposal to largely strip commanding officers of the power to toss out a verdict, a change initially recommended in April by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and backed by Dempsey, the service chiefs and many members of Congress.

But Gillibrand’s bill goes much farthertoo far, according to Dempsey. It would remove commanders from the process of deciding whether serious crimes, including sexual misconduct cases, go to trial. That judgment would rest with seasoned trial counsels who have prosecutorial experience and hold the rank of colonel or above.

Her legislation, which has 18 cosponsors that include four Republicans, also would take away a commander’s authority to convene a court-martial. That responsibility would be given to new and separate offices outside the victim’s chain of command.

“The current system allowing commanders to have sole discretion in the disposition of legal matters is clearly broken and has a chilling effect on reporting,” said Gillibrand, who chairs the Armed Services Committee’s personnel subcommittee. “We must … increase accountability within the system by removing the influence of the chain of command in the prosecution of intolerable crimes.”

In a May 20 letter to Levin, Dempsey said taking away a commander’s ability to convene a court-martial would “radically” alter a principal tenet of military law dating back two centuries and merged more than 60 years ago into a single Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“While Congress has modified the UCMJ from time to time, it has never removed commanders from the military justice system,” Dempsey wrote. “The consequences of such a decision would be far-reaching and extraordinarily damaging to the nation’s security.

Whether all or parts of Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act are added to the defense policy bill for the 2014 fiscal year remains to be seen.

But changes are coming. The GOP-led House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee used Hagel’s April recommendation as a starting point and then went further in a bill it approved two weeks ago.

In addition to taking away the authority to reverse courts-martial rulings, the subcommittee voted to establish dismissal or dishonorable discharge as the mandatory minimum sentence under military law for service members found guilty of rape, sexual assault, forcible sodomy or an attempt to commit those offenses. Commanders also would be barred from reducing or commuting the minimum sentence except in situations where the accused substantially aided the government in the investigation or prosecution of another assailant.

The House bill, however, stops short of taking those cases outside the chain of command, as Gillibrand’s bill proposes. Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, who co-chairs the House Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, said the focus should be on preventing sexual assaults, not scrapping central elements of the current military justice system.

The hearing June 4 may indicate how far the Senate Armed Services Committee is willing to go. A final plan will eventually be produced after any differences between the House and Senate are resolved.

Levin has not publicly stated his position on Gillibrand’s proposal but has made clear he is dissatisfied with the Pentagon’s efforts to eradicate what he has described as the “plague of sexual assaults in the military.”

And Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., an Armed Services Committee member and critic of the Pentagon’s handling of sexual assault cases, isn’t co-sponsoring Gillibrand’s bill, backing instead many of the changes the House panel approved.

McCaskill told reporters last month that she’s not opposed to Gillibrand’s legislation but wants to be sure Congress doesn’t squander a chance to pass a bill because of partisan differences over its scope. “I am tired of trying to legislate around the gridlock in Congress,” she said.

___

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Sex Assaults At Military Academies Up 60 Percent

Sex Assault Reports At Academy Up 60 Percent

Sexual assault reports at the Air Force Academy jumped nearly 60 percent during the last academic year while the prevalence of the crime remained about the same, according to a new Defense Department study.

The results, which mirror the two other service institutions — the Military Academy and the Naval Academy — signal greater victim confidence but show that efforts to reduce sexual assaults among future military leaders have been unsuccessful.

Air Force cadets made 52 sexual assault reports during the 2011-2012 year, up 58 percent from 33 in 2010-2011. They also accounted for 65 percent of the 80 reports made at all three academies, despite sim­ilar student populations.

In 44 of the 80 reports, victims said they were victimized by a fel­low cadet or midshipman, the study said. Twenty-five incidents occurred on academy grounds.

Since sex assault is one of the most under-reported crimes, the military has long relied on an anonymous survey to measure the rate of such incidents, director of the DoD Sexual Assault Preven­tion and Response Office Maj. Gen. Gary Patton said in a news conference with reporters before the release of the report Dec. 21.

Fewer than 15 percent of sexual assault victims in a college envi­ronment report the crime, accord­ing to the study. That number stands at around 11 percent at the service academies.

At the Air Force Academy, far more are making reports — about 28 percent of victims, Col. Stella Renner, vice commandant of cul­ture and climate, said in a tele­phone interview.

“While we hate to see we have sexual assaults, we are very proud we have a strong reporting cli­mate,” Renner said.

That shows cadets feel more comfortable asking for help after they are victimized and that there is increased trust in the system, she insisted.

“We’re seeing cases where vic­tims who have come forward in the past are bringing in other people they know of who may have had a situation they haven’t reported yet. Nobody’s going to tell on you. It’s private. You can start healing and moving on,” Renner said.

Reporting has been on the uptick at all three academies since 2008 and increased by 23 percent overall from the last academic year, Patton said.

“Any sexual assault is bad, and our goal is always to eliminate sexual assault,” he said. “The more we know about the incidents that do happen, the more we can help victims become survivors, [gain] insight into what’s going on” and prosecute perpetrators.

But both Patton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressed concern at what they described as a persistent problem and a lack of progress in combating it.

“There is not enough progress in preventing sexual harassment and assaults,” Patton said.

In a memo, Panetta directed the institutions to find new ways to “integrate sexual assault and harassment prevention into the full spectrum of academy life and learning” and ordered them to report back March 29.

The DoD report followed a year of high-profile sex scandals in the military, from the resignation of CIA director and retired Army Gen. David Petraeus to the inves­tigation of more than two dozen military training instructors at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

There was no statistical increase in incidents of sexual assault at the Air Force Academy from 2010-2011, Renner said. Sexual harass­ment decreased significantly there but remained unchanged at the Military and Naval academies, the study showed.

Victims who did not make a report indicated in the anonymous survey that they took care of the incident themselves, that they did not want anyone to know about it and did not want people gossiping about what had happened to them.

Those who chose to make a report said they needed help deal­ing with an emotional event, that they wanted to stop the offender from hurting others and that they wanted to see justice served.

Reports of sexual assaults fall into two categories: restricted and unrestricted. Unrestricted reports involve law enforcement and the chain of command of the victim and the accused. Restricted reports afford victims privacy while making support services available to them.

Twenty-one of the 52 reports at the Air Force Academy were unre­stricted, Renner said.

She said the academy plans to study each of the reports. “We’ll continue to work and see if there are other things we need to consid­er. We look for trending informa­tion to see if there might be some­thing we can do from a police [change], lights, locks on doors.” Next year, the academy plans to begin bystander intervention train­ing. The training teaches cadets how to identify potentially danger­ous situations and intervene safely.

Teresa Beasley, sexual assault response coordinator at the Air Force Academy, called it “a good way ahead. I think they want to help each other,” she said of cadets. “This will give them the skills to do that.” Beasley said the academy has worked hard to raise awareness around campus. “Whenever you raise awareness, reports go up,” she said. “I consider anyone that walks in a victory.”                   (By Kristin Davis)


Air Force Times
January 7, 2013

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First Openly gay Cadets Since Repeal of DADT Policy Graduate From Air Force Academy

 

The first openly gay homosexual cadets graduated Wednesday from the U.S. Air Force Academy, eight months after the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) policy took effect.

The graduation in Colorado Springs, Colo., featured an address by President Barack Obama. Obama focused his speech on the “new feeling about America” that has been generated around the world during his term.

“We can say with confidence and pride: The United States is stronger, safer and more respected in the world,” he said. “There’s a new feeling about America. I see it everywhere I go, from London and Prague, to Tokyo and Seoul, to Rio and Jakarta. There’s a new confidence in our leadership.”

The speech was the president’s last commencement address of the season. Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for this Saturday 26 May at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where Vice President Joe Biden will be the featured speaker, and at the U.S. Naval Academy on Tuesday.

Trish Heller, leader of the Blue Alliance, an association of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, and Bi-sexual, Transgender) Air Force Academy alumni, said that gay cadets were happier to blend into the graduating class rather than stand out. She said that her group was aware of at least four openly LGBT members of the class of 2012.

Students and others affiliated with the academy reported a smooth transition since repeal of DADT took effect last September.

“The Air Force Academy group – called Spectrum – was officially sanctioned earlier this month and had about 30 members from across all classes, the organizers said. “The Air Force Academy’s administration has also allowed the Blue Alliance to have a more high-profile role on campus. The group flew rainbow flags during a tailgate party before a home football game in November, Heller said, and hosted a dinner attended by the dean of faculty, Gen. Dana Born. In February, the group participated in a campus leadership symposium, she said.”

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President Obama Delivers Graduation Speech At Air Force Academy

US President Barack Obama delivers commencement address at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on May 23, 2012. Since 2009, Obama has delivered commencement addresses at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn. Obama’s commencement speech in Colorado was his last of the 2012 spring season.

The president spoke in Colorado just as Romney was across the street from the White House, delivering a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in which he condemned Obama’s record on education. Obama also reiterated the economic themes of his campaign, spelling out a vision of debt reduction with targeted spending.

Obama was keeping up a presidential tradition of speaking to one of the service academies every year at graduation time.

The speech was the president’s last commencement address of the season. Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for this Saturday 26 May at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where Vice President Joe Biden will be the featured speaker, and at the U.S. Naval Academy on Tuesday 29 May 2012.

His speech followed a diplomatic flurry in which he hosted the NATO summit in Chicago, where allies cemented an exit strategy for the Afghanistan war, and the G-8 summit at Camp David in Maryland.

“There’s a new feeling about America,” Obama said. “I see it everywhere I go, from London and Prague, to Tokyo and Seoul, to Rio and Jakarta,” Obama said. “There’s a new confidence in our leadership.”

NATO allies this week affirmed that the war in Afghanistan will halt at the end of 2014. The final U.S. troops left Iraq at the end of last year.

A spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, Kirsten Kukowski, said Obama’s promises have not yielded enough results for today’s college graduates.

“America’s youth face soaring unemployment, underemployment and rising tuition,” she said. “It’s time to elect a president who treats future generations as a priority and not just a political talking point.”

 

The President went on to say: QUOTE:

Cadets, you distinguished yourselves as leaders before you ever stepped foot on the Terrazzo. And when you arrived, I know your upper classes gave you quite a welcome. They let you experience the joy of Beast. The pleasure of Recognition. They made you experts at filling out forms. I only ask that you resist the temptation to rate my speech: “fast-neat-average-friendly-good-good.”

But you survived. In you we see the values of Integrity, Service, Excellence that will define your lives. And I know you couldn’t have made it without the love and support of your moms and dads and brothers and sisters. So give a big round of applause to your families.

This academy is one of the most demanding academic institutions in America. And you have excelled. I’m told you have set at least three Academy records. The largest number of graduates ever to go directly on to graduate school. The largest number of female graduates in Academy history. You will follow in the footsteps of General Janet Wolfenbarger, who I was proud to nominate as the first female four-star general in Air Force history.

And your final distinction—breaking the world record for the largest game of dodgeball. More than 3,000 of you. For more than 30 hours. I did not know that was possible. Then again, you’re also the class that snuck into the last Superintendent’s office and moved all his furniture—to your dorm rooms. Which brings me to some important business. In keeping with long-standing tradition, I hereby grant amnesty to all cadets serving restrictions and confinements for minor offenses. General Gould, I’ll let you define “minor.”

Cadets, this is the day you finally become officers in the finest Air Force in the world. Like generations before you, you will be charged with the responsibility of leading those under your command. Like classes over the past 10 years, you graduate in a time of war and you may find yourself in harm’s way. But you will also face a new test. That’s what I want to talk with you about today.

Four years ago, you arrived here at a time of great challenge for our nation. Our forces were engaged in two wars. Al Qaeda, which had attacked us on 9/11, was entrenched in their safe-havens. Many of our alliances were strained, and our standing in the world had suffered. Our economy was in the worst recession since the Great Depression. Around the world and here at home, many questioned whether the United States still had the capacity for global leadership.

Today, you step forward into a different world. You are the first class in nine years that will graduate into a world where there are no Americans fighting in Iraq. For the first time in your lives—and thanks to Air Force personnel who did their part—Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to our country. We’ve put al Qaeda on the path to defeat. And you are the first graduates since 9/11 who can see clearly how we’ll end the war in Afghanistan.

What does all this mean? When you came here four years ago, there were some 180,000 American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, we’ve cut that number by more than half. And as more Afghans step up, more of our troops will come home—while achieving the objective that led us to war in the first place: defeating al Qaeda, and denying them a safe-haven. So we aren’t just ending these wars, we’re doing so in a way that makes us safer, and stronger.

Today we pay tribute to all our brave men and women in uniform who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan to make this progress possible—including 16 graduates of this Academy. We honor them—always.

For a decade, we have labored under the dark cloud of war. Now, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The end of these wars will shape your service and it will make our military stronger. Ten years of continuous military operations have stretched our forces and strained their families. Going forward, you’ll face fewer deployments. You’ll have more time to train and stay ready. You’ll be better prepared for the full range of missions you’ll face.

Ending these wars will also ensure that the burden of our security no longer falls so heavily on the shoulders of our men and women in uniform. You can’t be expected to do it alone. There are many sources of American power—diplomatic, economic, development and the power of our ideals. We need to be using them all. And today, we are.

Around the world, the United States is leading once more. From Europe to Asia, our alliances are stronger than ever. Our ties with the Americas are deeper. We’re setting the agenda in the region that will shape our long-term security and prosperity like no other—the Asia-Pacific.

We’re leading on global security. Reducing our nuclear arsenals with Russia, even as we maintain a strong nuclear deterrent. Mobilizing dozens of nations to secure nuclear materials so they never fall into the hands of terrorists. And rallying the world to put the strongest sanctions ever on Iran and North Korea, which cannot be allowed to threaten the world with nuclear weapons.

We’re leading economically—forging trade pacts to create new markets for our goods. Boosting our exports, stamped with those three proud words—”Made in America.” And we’re expanding exchanges and collaborations in areas that people often admire most about America—our innovation, our science, our technology.

We’re leading on behalf of human dignity and freedom. Standing with the people of the Middle East and North Africa as they seek their rights. Preventing a massacre in Libya with an international mission in which the United States—and our Air Force—led from the front. We’re leading global efforts against hunger and disease. And we’ve shown our compassion, as so many airmen did in delivering relief to our neighbors in Haiti when they were in need and to our

Japanese allies after the earthquake and tsunami.

Because of this progress, there’s a new feeling about America. I see it everywhere I go, from London and Prague, to Tokyo and Seoul, to Rio and Jakarta. There’s a new confidence in our leadership. And when people around the world are asked “Which country do you admire most?”…one nation comes out on top—the United States of America.

The world stage is not a popularity contest. As a nation, we have vital interests, and we will do what is necessary to defend the country we love—even if it’s unpopular. But make no mistake, how we’re viewed in the world has consequences—for our national security, for your lives.

When other countries and people see us as a partner, they’re more willing to work with us. It’s why more countries joined us in Afghanistan and Libya. It’s why nations like Australia are welcoming our forces, to stand side-by-side with allies and partners in the South Pacific. It’s why Uganda and its African neighbors have welcomed our trainers to help defeat a brutal army that slaughters civilians.

I think of the Japanese man in the disaster zone who, upon seeing our airmen delivering relief, said, “I never imagined they could help us so much.” I think of the Libyans who protected our airman when he ejected over their town, because they knew America was there to protect them. And—in a region where we’ve seen the burning of American flags—I think of all the Libyans who were waving American flags.

Today, we can say with confidence and pride—the United States is stronger, safer and more respected in the world. Because even as we’ve done the work of ending these wars, we’ve laid the foundation for a new era of American leadership. And now, cadets, we have to build on it. Let’s start by putting aside the tired notion that says our influence has waned, that America is in decline. We’ve heard that talk before.

During the Great Depression, when millions were unemployed and some believed that other economic models offered a better way, there were those who predicted the end of American capitalism. They were wrong. We fought our way back, created the largest middle class in history and the most prosperous economy the world has ever known.

After Pearl Harbor, some said the United States had been reduced to a third-class power. But we rallied, we flew over The Hump and took island after island; we stormed the beaches and liberated nations; and we emerged from that war as the strongest power on the face of the Earth.

After Vietnam and the energy crisis of the 1970s, some said America had passed its high point. But the very next decade, because of our fidelity to the values we stand for, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down and liberty prevailed over tyranny in the Cold War.

And there was a time—the 1980s, with the rise of Japan and the Asian tigers —when many said we had lost our economic edge. But we retooled, we invested in new technologies and we launched an Information Revolution that changed the world.

After all this, you’d think folks would understand a basic truth—never bet against the United States of America.

One of the reasons is that the United States has been, and will always be, the one indispensable nation in world affairs. This is one of the many examples of why America is exceptional. And it’s why I firmly believe that if we rise to this moment in history, if we meet our responsibilities, then—just like the 20th century—the 21st will be another great American Century. That’s the future I see; that’s the future you can build.

I see an American Century because we have the resilience to make it through these tough economic times. We need to put America back to work by investing in the things that keep us competitive—education and high-tech manufacturing; science and innovation. We need to pay down our deficits, reform our tax code and keep reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We need to get on with nation-building here at home. And I know we can, because we’re still the largest, most dynamic, most innovative economy in the world. And no matter what challenges we may face, we wouldn’t trade places with any other nation on Earth.

I see an American Century because you are part of the finest, most capable military the world has ever known. No other nation even comes close. Yes, as today’s wars end, our military—and our Air Force—will be leaner. But as Commander in Chief, I will not allow us to make the mistakes of the past.

We still face very serious threats. As we’ve seen in recent weeks, with al Qaeda in Yemen, there are still terrorists who seek to kill our citizens. So we need you to be ready—for the full range of threats. From the conventional to the unconventional. From nations seeking weapons of mass destruction to the cell of terrorists planning the next attack. From the old danger of piracy to the new threat of cyber. We must be vigilant.

So, guided by our new defense strategy, we’ll keep our military—and our Air Force—fast, flexible and versatile. We will maintain our military superiority in all areas—air, land, sea, space and cyber. We’ll keep faith with our forces and military families. And as our newest veterans rejoin civilian life, we’ll never stop working to give them the benefits and opportunities they have earned—because our veterans have the skills to help us rebuild America.

I see an American Century because we have the strongest alliances of any nation. From Europe to Asia, our alliances are the foundation of global security. In Libya, all 28 NATO allies played a role and we were joined in the air by partners, from Sweden to Gulf states. In Afghanistan, we’re in a coalition of 50 allies and partners. Today, Air Force personnel are serving in 135 nations— partnering, training, building their capacity. This is how peace and security will be upheld in the 21st century—more nations bearing the costs and responsibilities of leadership. That’s good for America, and it’s good for the world.

I see an American Century because no other nation seeks the role that we play in global affairs, and no other nation can play the role that we play in global affairs. That includes shaping the global institutions of the 20th century to meet the challenges of the 21st. As President, I’ve made it clear that the United States does not fear the rise of peaceful, responsible emerging powers, we welcome them. Because when more nations step up and contribute to peace and security, that doesn’t undermine American power, it enhances it.

Moreover, when people in other countries see that we’re rooting for their success—not trying to hold them down—it builds trust and partnerships that can advance our interests for generations.

It makes it easier to meet common challenges, from preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to combating climate change. And so we seek an international order where the rights and responsibilities of all nations and peoples are upheld and where counties thrive by meeting their obligations and face consequences when they don’t.

I see an American Century because more and more people are reaching toward the freedoms and values we share. No other nation has sacrificed more—in treasure, in the lives of our sons and daughters—so that these freedoms could take root and flourish around the world. And no other nation has made the advancement of human rights and dignity so central to its foreign policy. That’s because it’s central to who we are, as Americans. It’s also in our self-interest, because democracies become our closest allies and partners.

There will always be some governments that try to resist the tide of democracy, who claim theirs is a better way. But around the world, people know the difference between us. We welcome freedom—to speak, to assemble, to worship, to choose your leaders. They don’t. We welcome the chance to compete for jobs and markets—freely, fairly. They don’t. And when fundamental human rights are threatened around the world, we stand up and speak out. They don’t.

We know that the sovereignty of nations cannot strangle the liberty of individuals. And so we stand with the students in the streets who demand a life of dignity and opportunity, and with women everywhere who deserve the same rights as men. We stand with the activists, unbowed in their prison cells, and with the leader in parliament moving her country toward democracy. We stand with the dissident who seeks the freedom to say what he pleases, the entrepreneur who wants to start a business without paying a bribe, and all those who strive for justice and dignity. For they know, as we do, that history is on the side of the free.

Finally, I see an American Century because of the character of our country—the spirit that has always made us exceptional. It’s that simple yet revolutionary idea—there at our Founding and in our hearts ever since—that we have it in our power to make the world anew; to make the future what we will. It’s that fundamental faith—that American optimism—which says no challenge is too great, no mission is too hard. It’s the spirit that guides your class—”never falter, never fail.”

That’s the essence of America, and there’s nothing else like it anywhere in the world. It’s what’s inspired the oppressed in every corner of the world to demand the same freedoms for themselves. It’s what’s inspired generations to come to our shores, renewing us with their energy and their hopes. That includes a cadet graduating today, who grew up in Venezuela, got on a plane with a one-way ticket to America and today is closer to his dream of becoming an Air Force pilot—Edward Camacho. Edward says what we all know to be true: “I’m convinced that America is the land of opportunity.”

That’s who we are. That’s the America we love. Always young. Always looking ahead, to that light of a new day on the horizon. Cadets, as I look into your eyes—as you join that Long Blue Line—I know you’ll carry us even farther, even higher. And with your proud service, I am absolutely confident that the United States of America will meet the tests of our time. We’ll remain the land of opportunity. And we’ll stay strong as the greatest force for freedom and human dignity the world has ever known.

May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. (UNQUOTE)

 

Following his speech, the president was headed to fundraisers in Denver and California’s Silicon Valley.

 

cd24OBAMA President Barack Obama arrives at Buckley Air Force base in Aurora today May 23rd, 2012. He was in Colorado to give the commencement address to graduating cadet at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He flew to Denver on Air Force One for a fundraising event.

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Cadet Used Honor Code Position To Obtain Sexual Favors.

Cadet Used Honor Code Position To Obtain Sexual Favors.

Cadet Robert M. Evenson Jr. is alleged to have forcibly raped a female cadet in the spring of 2010. He’s also charged with breaking cadet regulations by having an ongoing relationship with a female freshman. He also is suspected of abusing his power position as a “cadet non-commissioned officer for honor cases” to extract sexual favors from a female fellow cadet. This is serious. He was charged with enforcing the Honor Code. He may have used it to supply gris for his mill. As one of the cadets entrusted with enforcing the Academy’s Honor Code, he would have been in a very coveted position. He was expected to punish those who lie, cheat, steal or tolerate others who do. Those who violate the Honor Code face a maximum punishment of expulsion from the Academy. Allegations of corruption in the Honor Code enforcement system will likely send shock-waves through the Cadet Corps and the Academy alumni. The Honor Code is the very touchstone of the Academy’s culture.

Who will watch the watchers? This exploitation of a power position was inevitable. It is as impossible to avoid detection indefinitely as it is to plans your own surprise birthday. This is probably not the first time this cadet has done this. It appears that he had momentum; that is, forward motion fueled by a series of wins.

Just what is the Honor Code. each of our military academies has an Honor Code or an Honor Concept. How do they differ? Read all about it in my book CONDUCT UNBECOMING an Officer and Lady. Read it for free in Kindle format at

https://www.amazon.com/author/cgachall.blogspot.com

The Coast Guard Academy Cadet Handbook (2010) tells the new cadet recruit that when you take the oath of office as a Cadet in the United States Coast Guard you begin your development as a commissioned officer in the Armed Forces of the United States. You will be expected to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and to selflessly serve the American people.

In the Honor Concept there exists a higher standard of conduct that can neither be delineated by laws nor defined by regulations. It is the concept of Honor. Because Coast Guard cadets are called to a life of public service, and desire to attain that special trust and confidence which is placed in our nation’s commissioned officers, their actions must be straightforward and always above reproach. As future law enforcement officers, each cadet’s word and signature must be regarded as verification of the truth. The Coast Guard Academy’s Honor Concept is exemplified by a person who will neither lie, cheat, steal, nor attempt to deceive. It is epitomized by an individual who places loyalty to duty above loyalty to personal friendship or to selfish desire. While the Coast Guard Academy’s Honor Concept differs from a code, in that failure to report an honor offense is not itself an honor violation, cadets are required to report all activity that does not incriminate themselves. Moreover, the condoning of an honor violation is a Class I offense under the Cadet Regulations. Dis-enrollment is a very possible outcome. The Corps of Cadets are stewards of their Honor Concept.

At the center of their new world is adherence to a Concept or Cadet Honor Code to which they swear: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do.” Their whole new world is shaped around these principles. This initially shapeless reality begins to form into principles of rigid honesty, loyalty to their fellow cadets, and respect for their classmates and all with whom they associate.

What is conduct unbecoming an officer and a lady? Does it violate the Honor Concept? Does conduct that violates the UCMJ constitute a higher standard than the Honor Concept? Times are changing so rapidly, one wonders if cadets and officers of today can be held to the same standards of conduct that were intended by the drafters of the UCMJ and the MCM promulgated in 1951? Not everyone can be expected to meet ideal moral standards, but how far can the standards of behavior of cadets and officers fall below contemporary community standards without seriously compromising their standing as officers and ladies? Have the changes in ethics and values of American society been reflected in the military?

Both the United States Military Academy and the United States Air Force Academy have adopted a Cadet Honor Code as a formalized statement of the minimum standard of ethics expected of cadets. Other military schools have similar codes with their own methods of administration. The United States Naval Academy, like the Coast Guard Academy, has a related standard, known as the Honor Concept.

The Cadet Honor Code at the Air Force Academy, like that at West Point, is the cornerstone of a cadet’s professional training and development — the minimum standard of ethical conduct that cadets expect of themselves and their fellow cadets. Air Force’s honor code was developed and adopted by the Class of 1959, the first class to graduate from the Academy, and has been handed down to every subsequent class. The code adopted was based largely on West Point’s Honor Code, but was modified slightly to its current wording:

We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.

In 1984, the Cadet Wing voted to add an “Honor Oath,” which was to be taken by all cadets. The oath is administered to fourth class cadets (freshmen) when they are formally accepted into the Wing at the conclusion of Basic Cadet Training. The oath remains unchanged since its adoption in 1984, and consists of a statement of the code, followed by a resolution to live honorably:

We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does.

Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God.

Cadets are considered the “guardians and stewards” of the Code. Cadet honor representatives throughout the Wing oversee the honor system by conducting education classes and investigating possible honor incidents. Cadets throughout the Wing are expected to sit on Honor Boards as juries that determine whether their fellow cadets violated the code. Cadets also recommend sanctions for violations. Although the presumed sanction for a violation is di-senrollment, mitigating factors may result in the violator being placed in a probationary status for some period of time. This “honor probation” is usually only reserved for cadets in their first two years at the Academy. (Cadet Honor Code, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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Sexaul Assaults Return To Military Academies. Boys will Be Boys. Girls Just Want To Have Fun.

English: Cadets of the Air Force Academy Class...

Image via Wikipedia

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-ebook/dp/B006VPAADK/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_2″>http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-ebook/dp/B006VPAADK/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_2</a&gt;

To start the New Year with a bang, commanders at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on 5 January 2012 charged three Air Force Academy cadets with sexual assault in cases that occurred over the past 15 months.

The cases involve acts allegedly committed at the Academy, and involve civilian women as well as female cadets.

In November 2011, Cadet Stephan H. Claxton is alleged to have unzipped the fly of a female cadet while she was “substantially incapacitated” — a phrase the military has used in the past to describe intoxication.

Cadet Claxton faces assault and attempted rape charges, including an allegation that he forcibly kissed one cadet and assaulted another. He is also charged concerning an incident in March 2011, where he is accused of forcing a fellow cadet to touch his genitals and indulge in underage drinking.

Cadet Kyle A. Cressy, a graduating senior and a member of the soccer team, is charged having sex with a woman at the academy who was “substantially incapacitated.” It’s unclear from the charge sheet whether the alleged victim was a civilian or a female cadet.

Cadet Robert M. Evenson Jr. is alleged to have forcibly raped a female cadet in the spring of 2010. He’s also charged with breaking cadet regulations by having an ongoing relationship with a female freshman. He also is suspected of abusing his power position as a “cadet non-commissioned officer for honor cases” to extract sexual favors from a female fellow cadet. This is serious. He was charged with enforcing the Honor Code. he may have used it to supply gris for his mill. As one of the cadets entrusted with enforcing the Academy’s Honor Code, he would have been in a very coveted position.  He was expected to  punish those who lie, cheat, steal or tolerate others who do. Those who violate the Honor Code face a maximum punishment of expulsion from the Academy. Allegations of corruption in the Honor Code enforcement system will likely send shockwaves through the Cadet Corps and the Academy alumni. The Honor Code is the very touchstone of the Academy’s culture.

These charges come to light a week after the Pentagon reported a spike in the number of sexual assaults at the air Force Academy. There were 33 reported incidents in the 2010-2011 academic year. This is a four-fold increase in a two year span.

There are about 4,000 cadets at the Air Force Academy.  A senior academy spokesman said these charges don’t appear to mark a return of the level of incidents of sexual assault of 2003. In 2003 the Academy and the nation were rocked when dozens of female cadets reported incidents of alleged sexual assaults. Many of those cases were mishandled or ignored.

Several senior officers at the Academy were fired in the wake of the 2003 scandal. This resulted in congressional scrutiny to the issue of sexual assaults at all the nation’s military academies. There were courts-martial at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut  and the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Three were major reforms at those institutions.

The Coast Guard Academy court-martial of  Cadet Webster Smith marked the first time in history that a cadet at the Coast Guard Academy was given court-martial.  Some Coast Guard Academy graduates accused the Coast Guard of racial discrimination because the accused, Cadet Webster Smith, was African American and all of the accusers were white females. One of them was his girl friend who had become pregnant, and had an abortion more than six months before the Coast Guard decided to charge Cadet Smith with rape.

In the meantime it was learned that about 11 other cases of confessed rape had been resolved without resort to a court-martial. All of the other cadets were allowed to resign quietly and slip into darkness. All the other cadets were white. This is part of the reason that there were claims of bias and inappropriate command influence in the prosecution of Webster Smith.

The conviction was appealed all the way to the United States Supreme Court. It is interesting to note that there were several ‘Friend of the Court‘ or ‘amicus briefs’ filed with the Supreme Court by senior military lawyers from other branches of the armed forces in favor of the reversal of the Webster Smith conviction. It set a very bad precedent and there were irregularities in the prosecution and the appellate review of the conviction. The case was thoroughly critiqued in a book available on Amazon.com. (See http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-ebook/dp/B006VPAADK/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_2)

The Pentagon in a December 2011 report to Congress praised the Air Force Academy’s efforts to curb sexual assault in the ranks and gave the school high marks for its programs to encourage sexual assault reporting.

“[The academy] demonstrated commendable practices that should be considered for replication by other military service academies,” the Defense Department wrote in the report. The Coast Guard Academy had already implemented a new procedure for reporting and investigating sexual assaults in the wake of the Webster Smith case.

If any of these cadets get convicted, it would mark a reversal of fortunes for air Force prosecutors. Since the 2003 scandal, the academy has prosecuted a string of rape cases against cadets. But none of those cases has resulted in a conviction. Unlike the Coast Guard Academy, where one prosecution in 2006 resulted in one conviction and six months in jail for a graduating senior. (<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-ebook/dp/B006VPAADK/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_2″>http://www.amazon.com/CONDUCT-UNBECOMING-Officer-Lady-ebook/dp/B006VPAADK/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_t_2</a&gt;)

Recent rape trials at the Air Force Academy have almost always centered on the issue of ‘consent’. The defendant always used as a defense that the alleged victim gave her consent. He said she asked for sex. The cases were also marked by a lack of forensic evidence that could help sort out the conflicting claims. One can never be sure what a jury will decide in a case of ‘he-said, she-said’.

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Coast Guard Academy to Receive NAACP Award.

United States Coast Guard Academy seal

Image via Wikipedia

The Coast Guard Academy (CGA) will receive the Community Service Education Award from the Norwich branch of the NAACP at its 48th Annual Freedom Fund Dinner on Friday 7 October 2011.

The theme for this year’s dinner is “Affirming America’s Promise”.

The Academy will be recognized for contributions to the New London, Connecticut  community. According to Judge London Steverson, a 1968 graduate of the Academy and a Silver Life member of the NAACP, the Academy has a Partners in Education Program, known as PIE, which takes computer technology equipment used at the Coast Guard Academy, recycles and rebuilds it, then distributes it to local schools. Cadets also go to the schools and assist children and staff with their new computer equipment.

(www.judgelondonsteverson.com)

Categories: Military Justice | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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