Army Secretary John McHugh said sexual assault and sexual abuse “are abhorrent to everyone” of the values the Army cherishes and “will not be tolerated at any level at any time.”
Speaking Oct. 21 at the opening ceremony of the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, McHugh focused on the difficulty the Army will have in managing its programs and commitments.
“No where will we be more tested than in our ability to support our soldiers and their families,” who have been tested and have sacrificed during the past decade of war, he said.
And, McHugh continued, “we’ve lost far too many here at home to” suicide, drug and alcohol abuse and to PTSD.
“Continuing to fund vital family support programs is not just import, it’s essential,” he said.
The secretary also expressed concern about signs that good order and discipline was breaking down, and there was “no worse example than sexual assault.”
The Army must stop sexual abuse and sexual assault, he said. “To do otherwise would be a violation of our sacred trust.”
McHugh said Army leaders are responsible for leading the effort to prevent sexual assault, and he warned, “if leaders fail to lead, they will be replaced.”
“We must do better, and we will do better. How do I know? I’ve seen it in their eyes,” he said, referring to soldiers he has visited.