Obama vows to end 'scourge' of military sexual assault, cautions that it will take time and effort

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has vowed to end what he called the “scourge” of sexual assault in the military.

Obama also cautioned that it will take a long and sustained effort by all military members to stop the trend.

Obama met Thursday with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and the top brass from all the military services and later said there is no silver bullet to solving the problem.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, calls it a "crisis" in the ranks.

The Army chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, says his service's efforts are "failing."

Those summoned to the White House included the civilian heads of each service and senior enlisted advisers.

A Pentagon report last week estimated that as many as 26,000 military members may have been sexually assaulted last year, based on survey results, out of 1.4 million in the services.

That report, and a recent series of arrests and other sexual assault problems across the military, have triggered a rush of initiatives from the Pentagon and proposed legislation on Capitol Hill.

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