President Obama today admitted there is “no silver bullet” to solving the sexual assault epidemic in the military, but vowed to leave “no stone unturned” in order to fix the problem.
Speaking to reporters following a meeting with Defense Secretary Hagel and the joint chiefs of staff, Obama said the nation’s top military leaders are outraged by what’s been happening.
“They’re angry about it, and I heard directly from all of them that they’re ashamed by some of what’s happened,” Obama said.
Calling it “disgraceful,” the president warned that sexual violence in the military is “dangerous to our national security.”
“This is not a sideshow,” he said.
The president said sexual assault undermines the critical trust that the military needs to be effective.
“The reason we are so good is not because of the fancy equipment. It’s not because of our incredible weapons systems and technology. It’s because of our people, and the capacity for our men and women in uniform to work as a team, a disciplined unit,” Obama said. “It comes down to, Do people trust each other and do they understand that they’re all part of a single system that has to operate under whatever circumstances effectively?”
The president has asked Hagel and Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, to lead the effort to tackle this crisis.
“That starts with accountability, and that means at every level, and that includes accountability not just for enforcing the law but also training our personnel effectively, putting our best people on this challenge,” he said.
Mary Bruce ABC News, White House 202.222.7715 (office) 202.280.5017 (cell) @marykbruce