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CMR Sitrep
Monday, November 24, 2008
Co-ed Basic Training Sexual Abuses on the Rise

An article in the November 23, 2008 St. Louis Post-Dispatch describes an alarming rise in instances of sexual misconduct at Fort Leonard Wood, a gender-integrated Army training installation in Missouri. The report by Philip O'Connor, titled "New Sex Scandals at Fort Leonard Wood," notes that "at least 14 drill sergeants or other trainers have faced courts-martial for having improper relationships with Soldiers undergoing initial-entry training at the [base]."

The article also recounts an earlier congressional investigation of Fort Leonard Wood in 1996, two years after gender-integrated training began at the base. Seventeeen drill instructors were either convicted, pleaded guilty or received discharges in lieu of courts-martial. At about the same time, a sensational sex scandal exploded at Aberdeen Proving Ground, shortly after the re-election of then-President Bill Clinton.

According to the Post-Dispatch, "since 2005, sexual misconduct allegations against drill sergeants increased each year. In 2007, 68 percent of all trainee abuse allegations involved drill sergeant sexual misconduct, far ahead of complaints about physical or verbal abuse." The paper deserves credit for publishing a disturbing story, but where were the rest of the media been on this story during the past two years?

Harvey Perritt, spokesman for the Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), declares the Army's vigilance on the issue, promising to "prosecute to the fullest extent we can if allegations are investigated and found to be valid." Unfortunately, the primary source of the problem is the Pentagon itself. CMR compiled an analysis of Army Gender-Integrated Basic Training (GIBT) in 2003. Its findings are available here. The failure of TRADOC and officials of the Army to acknowledge evidence that co-ed basic training undermines discipline and morale has led to the myriad problems now emerging.

CMR has more data and analysis on this issue available at its page on co-ed basic training. We challenge the media to do more investigation on this story, with questioning minds open enough to consider the effect of gender integrated training on sexual misconduct in the ranks.

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Interested readers, including members of the military, are invited to comment through the "Confidential Contact" site on this website, Nothing in the CMR SITREP Blog is intended to aid or hinder elections or the passage of legislation before Congress.
posted by CMR Editor @ 11/24/2008 07:13:00 PM

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