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General cites slowdown in sexual misconduct accusations

Sep. 16, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
AFA MWM 20130916
Gen Edward Rice, commander of Air Education and Training Command, answers questions during a press conference at the Air Force Association Annual Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition at National Harbor, Md., on Sept. 16. (Mike Morones / Staff)
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Fifteen months have passed since the last sexual misconduct allegation against an Air Force basic training instructor, a hopeful sign the changes put in place are working, the head of Air Education and Training Command said Monday.

“This gives us some sense we are on the right path,” Gen. Edward Rice told reporters. “We are certainly by no means declaring victory.”

Rice’s remarks came during a media round table at the annual Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition at National Harbor, Md.

The Air Force began investigations in summer 2011 at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland after a recruit reported the assault of a fellow trainee.

More than 30 military training instructors were investigated for allegations of sexual misconduct involving Air Force recruits. Twenty-six were court-martialed on charges ranging from rape to inappropriate contact over social media. All but one of the trials ended in a conviction.

The investigations are now coming to a close, Rice said.

AETC made dozens of changes to basic training, including increased staffing and safety measures for recruits, greater oversight of instructors and tougher requirements for the job.

“We’ve taken care of the ones we thought were absolutely critical to make sure we shaped the environment today the way we want it to be shaped,” Rice said.

Among the changes: An oversight council of top leaders meets every two weeks to discuss changes within basic training and any new issues that arise.

“We’re keeping a very close focus on basic training,” Rice said. “We know this is not the type of problem you fix and then move on. You put initiatives in place and you’ve got to continue to revisit them every day.”

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