WASHINGTON (AP) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is announcing new steps to combat sexual assaults in the military.
The Pentagon recently reported to Congress that the number of sexual assaults in the U.S. military increased slightly last year. Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, unveiled the initiatives Monday at a Capitol Hill news conference.
The two met privately with a bipartisan group from the House Armed Services Committee. The lawmakers have pushed the Pentagon to take aggressive steps to stop sexual assaults and aid the victims.
One initiative would subject serious offenses such as rape and forcible sodomy to a court-martial review at the Army colonel or Navy captain level.
The initiatives are likely to be included in a defense bill that the committee is crafting.