Navy Disqualifies 151 Sailors from Being Sexual Assault Counselors

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Following the Army's lead (and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's orders), the Navy conducted a review of sailors to determine whether or not they should serve in positions of trust. These positions include sexual assault counselors, instructors, and recruiters. USA Today reports that Navy officials disqualified 151 sailors from these positions, after only removing five last year. Navy officials probably felt pressure to conduct a more thorough review this year after the Army disqualified 588 servicemen and women from positions of trust in February. The Marines have yet to disqualify anyone. The Air Force disqualified two airmen last week. 

Update, 4:33 pm: Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Chris Servello tells The Wire that this review was an expansion of the one originally mandated by Hagel, and it was not done in reaction to "reporting of our '5' number." He says the reviews were actually completed at the same time last summer, but the Department of Defense released the review Hagel ordered first. "We were asked about our number being so low," Servello says, so the Navy chose to release its own more exhaustive review like the Army did. 

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Original: According to documents obtained by USA Today, most sailors were disqualified for not having the proper training. Servello admitted that some of these members lacked certifications "for duties involving sexual assault prevention and response." They may be able to receive proper training and go back to positions of trust. The Navy reviewed 20,000 sailors, up from the 10,000 they reviewed when mandated by Hagel. 

Hagel will now look to the Marines and the Air Force to conduct thorough reviews of its members. Congress has started putting pressure on, as well — last week, Rep. Jackie Speier sent a letter to Hagel urging him to get all the forces to follow the Army's lead. She directed criticism at the Marines for failing to disqualify anyone: "I find that remarkable particularly since every other service has had at least a few."  Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos promised to look into it. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.