Pentagon announces new policy to combat bullying, harassment

Pentagon announces new policy to combat bullying, harassment
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The Pentagon on Thursday announced a sweeping new policy meant to crackdown on everything from hazing to offensive humor to sexual harassment, nearly a year after a nude-photo scandal caused an uproar in the military community.
 
Pentagon chief spokeswoman Dana White said the comprehensive policy is geared toward making it easier to put a permanent mark on service records of military members who harass or bully people on the job or online.
 
“It’s a framework for military services to address unacceptable behaviors such as offensive jokes, stereotyping, violence and discrimination,” White told reporters at the Pentagon.
 
“This policy brings us one step closer to eliminating these behaviors.”
 
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While each military service has its own harassment policies regarding discrimination, sexual harassment, bullying, hazing and hostile online behavior, “the reporting chains are different, the tracking, the data is different,” White said.
 
The new policy “provides a framework so that there’s a commonality with respect to tracking offenders, how we keep data and what services have to be provided,” she said.
 
By streamlining and consolidating the processes, victims will find it easier to report harassment allegations, while offenders will find it harder to avoid punishment and a mark on their record, according to the Pentagon.
 
Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisOvernight Defense: Trump identifies first soldier remains from North Korea | New cyber strategy lets US go on offense | Army chief downplays talk of 'Fort Trump' Pompeo backed continued US support in Yemen war over objections from staff: report Stand with veterans instead of predatory for-profit colleges MORE addressed the new policy later on Thursday, telling reporters that "you have to adapt to your times," while acknowledging the challenges of upholding certain standards in a culture such as the military's.
 
“There is a rough good humor among soldiers, we all know that. But I have never seen rough good humor countenance or in any way frame something that’s disgusting, repellant or something like that,” Mattis said, when asked about the new policy's stance on offensive humor.
 
“I don’t want to lose all sense [of] humor in the military but I have never seen an ounce of belief in the military that you can denigrate someone," Mattis said.
 
The military services and Defense Department components will have 60 days to develop and submit implementation plans for the policy, which does not not apply to civilian employees.
 
The new guidelines come nearly a year after a nude-photo-sharing scandal swept through the Marine Corps. The controversy, which involved the sharing of nude photos of female service members on Facebook, led to an internal investigation and calls for revamped policies regarding harassment.