Panetta, Dempsey to brief Congress on sexual assault

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The top Pentagon leaders will discuss the Defense Department’s initiatives to curb sexual assault in the military, an effort that has long been criticized by some in Congress.

In January, Panetta pledged to do more to reduce the number of sexual assaults in the military.

The Defense Department estimated last year there were 19,000 military sexual assaults. There were 3,191 reported incidences of sexual assault in 2011.

The Pentagon’s creation of a centralized case-level database for sexual assault, which is supposed to be fully operational by August 2012, drew praise from two members of Congress on Monday.