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Hagel orders review of sex-abuse prevention

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (left) and Joint Chiefs of Staff  chairman  Martin Dempsey spoke to reporters Friday.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (left) and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Martin Dempsey spoke to reporters Friday.Yuri Gripas /Reuters

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WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the military Friday to recertify every person involved in programs designed to prevent and respond to sexual assault, an acknowledgment that assaults have escalated beyond the Pentagon’s control.

He said the step is one among many that will be taken to fix the problem of sexual abuse and sexual harassment within every branch of the military.

At a news conference with General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hagel said he believes alcohol use is ‘‘a very big factor’’ in many sexual assault and sexual harassment cases, but there are many pieces to the problem.

Hagel said it has become clear to him since taking office in February that holding people accountable for their actions is important, but simply firing people is not a solution.

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