Pentagon review highlights abusive behavior reports at Kaneohe base

Your top local headlines for April 1, 2022.
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 7:42 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 1, 2022 at 11:17 AM HST
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KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow and AP) - A new Pentagon report finds that abusive behavior, such as sexual harassment, is a serious problem at U.S. bases all over the world.

Among the 20 bases studied was Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe. The report shows that there were dozens of reports of sexual harassment and assault in 2020.

There were also 68 incidents of domestic abuse that year.

The Pentagon said bases with a higher risk of harmful behaviors tend to have leaders who focus more on their mission than on their service members.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the report as part of his effort to strengthen sexual assault and harassment prevention across the forces, identify what programs work and ensure high-risk bases get attention quickly. In a memo, he said the report will help the department tailor improvements.

“While we have made progress, we must do more to strengthen the integrated capabilities we have on the ground to prevent sexual assault, harassment, suicide, domestic abuse and other harmful behaviors,” he said.

According to the report, 16 of the bases were selected because a command climate survey of nearly a million personnel identified problems there, which included things such as binge drinking, toxic leadership, stress, and racial or sexual harassment.

While serious problems were identified at these 16 bases, the report looked at a variety of factors for each location and doesn’t specifically characterize them as the worst in the military.

Two other bases were chosen because the survey showed good results, such as high morale, inclusion and good leadership. Two others had a mix of both high-performing and problem units.

The report said that the changes proposed by the independent review board will help address the problems. Those improvements include establishing a dedicated prevention workforce, expanded sexual assault prevention and response programs, and better leadership.

The budget for 2023 includes funding to hire additional personnel.

The report also recommends that the department establish data to help the military services share prevention and program support information, hold leaders accountable if they don’t have healthy command climates.

Officials said it’s important to ensure that leaders better understand the prevention policies and programs and that service members and employees know where to go to get help.

Officials also said that there will be follow-up visits to the bases by this fall, and that similar site visits and reviews will be done every two years.

Austin is asking military service leaders for implementation plans by early June and said the department will issue more guidelines and policies by early October.

Pentagon report by HNN on Scribd

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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