The U.S. secretary of defence has unveiled a series of new directives aimed at cracking down on an epidemic of sexual assaults in the armed forces, an issue that has seized the very top levels of the military brass in recent months.
The U.S. Department of Defence is announcing that reported cases of sexual assault in the U.S. military last year rose again to 3,374, a six percent increase over 2011 and a record high.
The new U.S. secretary of defence, Chuck Hagel, pushed Monday for reforms of the armed forces’ judicial code that would roll back an archaic provision allowing high-ranking commanders to overturn military court verdicts, a move that would particularly impact on cases involving sexual assaults.
Ending a long and controversial battle, the U.S. Senate Tuesday voted 58-41 to confirm former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama’s new secretary of defence.
Despite an appeal Thursday by 15 right-wing Republican senators for President Barack Obama to withdraw the nomination of Chuck Hagel as his next defence secretary, the former Republican senator from Nebraska appears virtually certain to be confirmed as Pentagon chief by the full Senate next week.
If former Defence Secretary-designate Sen. Chuck Hagel’s lacklustre performance at his confirmation hearing Thursday heartened neo-conservatives and other hawks opposed to his nomination, those who argued that the Israel lobby has been exerting too great an influence on U.S. foreign policy were ecstatic.
U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Massachusetts Senator John Kerry on Friday to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, calling him "the perfect choice to guide American diplomacy in the years ahead".