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Posted 6/21/2013
Commentary by Army Maj. Gen. Michael Garrett
U.S. Army Alaska commanding general

6/21/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- As an Army, we are the greatest ground fighting force in history. This week, we are celebrating our 238th birthday. We have a proud history of defending America, protecting her citizens and answering our homeland's call to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We are the strength of the nation.

But as an organization, we still have things we can improve on. The U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno has made prevention of sexual harassment and assault, as well as caring for victims of these crimes, the number one priority. Think about that. The Army has many unique challenges and covers a huge portion of the planet and yet our number one priority is a threat from within.

This issue is serious enough that some of our nation's leaders are suggesting these crimes be handled outside the military court system. This would take from commanders the authority to prosecute these cases under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That implies some of our nation's leaders, and by extension the Americans they represent, are losing faith in our ability to protect their Soldiers from being sexually assaulted or harassed. This alone should be enough to make every one of us look for new ways to protect the Soldiers in our ranks.

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