Washington, May 26 (ANI): New York's Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel addressed the US Naval Academy graduates and strongly condemned the influx of sexual assaults in the military.
Hagel spoke to the cadets at the Academy during a commencement ceremony of the current West Point graduate batch, the CBS News reports.
According to the report, Hagel's advice to the new military batch comes as a series of sexual assault incidents have taken place across the armed services and reports confirming increase in such incidents.
Hagel said that the sexual harassment cases in the military are a 'profound betrayal' to sacred oaths and trusts, touting sexual misconducts to be a 'scourge that needs to be stamped out.'
Hagel stated that the accountability to ensure that sexual assaults do not take place lies on the military forces and they cannot afford to fail the citizens whom they lead.
The graduates, Hagel said, should instead form the generation of leaders who intend to stop the debilitating and insidious threats of suicide, sexual assault and drug and alcohol abuse.
The new Pentagon chief, Hagel is among the Pentagon leaders who have been struggling to deal with an 'epidemic of sexual assaults' in the military. A Pentagon report said that the number of sexual assaults actually reported by military service members rose 6 percent to 3,374 in 2012. (ANI)