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 News Article

SEAC Seeks Sexual Assault Investigation Improvements

By Amaani Lyle
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2014 – The senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff discussed today efforts to bolster the Defense Department’s investigative techniques and expertise in amassing sexual assault and sexual harassment case evidence.

During a Blogger’s Roundtable, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia told reporters that the department is “exhausting every effort to try and get to the left of an incident occurring,” but carry out a fair process once it has.

“Our first and foremost priority is protecting the victim, but also allowing the alleged perpetrator their due justice because the last thing we’d want to do is place a commander in a position who has court martial or Article 15 authority to convict an innocent person,” Battaglia said.

Still, Battaglia asserts that abating sexual assault is a challenge all military people must take on.

“We make every attempt to engage everyone in helping to [stop] sexual assault and sexual harassment within the armed forces,” the sergeant major said, adding that he can personally attest to the commitment of Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in tackling the issue.

Battaglia said that in addition to honing investigative techniques, DoD officials used social media to craft a survey targeted toward the enlisted force that gauges both restricted and unrestricted reporting metrics.

With support from Congress, he added, the Defense Department will submit a report to the White House later this year as to how commanders are engaged in adjudication and the critical need for evidence.

“We will stay on it until we solve it,” the sergeant major said.

(Follow Amaani Lyle on Twitter: @LyleDODNews)


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Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan B. Battaglia

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