US Air Force to add more female trainers

Nov 15 2012, 10:27 IST
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SummaryThe change came after months of disclosures of sexual misconduct at Lackland Air Force base in Texas.

The U.S. Air Force said on Wednesday that one quarter of its basic training instructors will be women following widespread sexual harassment and abuse of female recruits at a Texas base des cribed by an official report as a breakdown of good order and discipline.

The change came after months of disclosures of sexual misconduct at Lackland Air Force base in Texas.

In the report, Major General Margaret Woodward, Air Force Director of Safety Programs, described a flawed basic training structure that led to the opportunity for abuse of power.

The report was released as the U.S. military is mired in a sex scandal involving David Petraeus, a retired four-star Army general.

Petraeus resigned last week as CIA chief after revelations that he had an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, a reserve officer in military intelligence.

The report made 47 recommendations including one, which the Air Force said it will apply, that would require one in four basic training instructors to be a woman.

At present one instructor, usually a staff sergeant, oversees a training unit of some 22 recruits, men and women. In future there would be four instructors overseeing two units, with at least one of them being a woman.

This will require a female target of 25 percent of total (training instructors), the report said.

About 22 percent of the Air Force is female, but many of those women are in specialized technical positions.

INTEGRATED TRAINING TO STAY

Eleven instructors at Lackland have been charged with offenses ranging from inappropriate behavior to sexual assault.

Five have been convicted or pleaded guilty at courts-martial and have been sentenced to terms ranging from 30 days to 20 years in prison. The others are in various stages of the military legal process.

The Air Force has said 48 women have come forward with what investigators consider credible stories of sexual misconduct.

The report drew mixed reactions from officials who have f o llowe d the unfolding scandal.

The reforms proposed will not fix the systemic cultural and legal biases that preclude justice for victims of military sexual assault, said Nancy Parrish, who heads an a dvocacy group cal led Pro tect Our Defenders.

The military in general , and the Air Force in particular , still has not faced or dug deep enough to get to the heart of the problem.

The move to increase female instructors could be controversial because some women's rights advocates pushed the military to address the scandal by

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