Hagel: Sexual Assault Report Shows Armed Forces 'Need Cultural Change'


"I expect consequences," he said. "I don't want just more speeches or, you know, awareness programs or training, but ultimately folks look the other way. If we find out somebody's engaging in this stuff, they've got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged -- period. It's not acceptable."

The president said he had spoken with Hagel, telling him that "we have to exponentially step up our game to go at this thing hard."

On Capitol Hill, senators called sexual assault in the military a "plague" and blasted the Air Force for not making enough progress in remedying the problem.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was "terribly disappointed" that the military is not doing a better job to prevent sexual assault.

"It appears to me we're going to have to change the mindset of the military," Reid said.

Krusinski's arrest gave new fire to senators calling for the Department of Defense to act "swiftly and decisively" to address the problem of sexual assault in the military -- including from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing with Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark Welsh III, at times yelled openly at the two Air Force witnesses over this case and the broader problem.

"The man in charge for the Air Force in preventing sexual assault is being alleged to have committed a sexual assault this weekend," Sen. Gillibrand yelled, "obviously there's a failing in training and understanding of what sexual assault is and how corrosive and damaging it is to good order and discipline and how it is undermining the credibility of the greatest military force in the world. This is not good enough."

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who will block the promotion of another Air Force general who has pardoned an officer convicted of aggravate sexual assault, said she expects the person who hired Krusinski in the first place to be held to a higher standard on the highering of his replacement.

"This was not someone who understood what this job was about," McCaskill said. "And I will be watching very carefully who is selected to replace Lt. Col. Kruinski, because I think it is one of those times you're going to be able to send a message, and I think it's important you do it."

Senators Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., today introduced the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act of 2013, which they said will address gaps in the system.

Reid said he believes these are "steps in the right direction."

"If there is legislation that needs to be done, which I'm quite sure there probably is, we need to move it out as quickly as we can," Reid said.

Krusinski is expected to be arraigned on Thursday.

ABC News' Mary Bruce contributed to this report.

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