Two former caregivers at an army day care center at Ft. Myer, Virginia are charged with assaulting children at the facility just next door to the Pentagon.
And at least 30 other childcare workers have been taken off the job after background checks found criminal records including sexual assault and drug use.
Military families are shocked and telling CNN’s Barbara Starr that the military kept them in the dark about many of the problems at Ft. Myer.
By Larry Shaughnessy
It should come as no surprise that U.S. Army soldiers can fight.
But Staff Sgt. Colton Smith can say he's the Army's ultimate fighter.
Smith, who is based at Fort Hood, won the season 16 finale of "The Ultimate Fighter" on national TV last weekend by beating Canadian Mike Ricci in three five-minute rounds of mixed martial arts (MMA).
"It's an amazing feeling of accomplishment," Smith said in a story posted on Fort Hood's website.
By Barbara Starr
President Barack Obama made the rare move of calling the secretary of the Army on Tuesday night to express concern about reports of abuse at an Army child care facility, U.S. officials told CNN.
"The president made clear that we must have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to protecting the children of service members from abuse. The president urged Secretary (John) McHugh to conduct the investigation into its hiring practices at (Army day care facilities)," a White House official told CNN's Lesa Jansen.
It is highly unusual for the president to call a military service secretary regarding a criminal matter, said a senior U.S. defense official who has served at the Pentagon for more than a decade.
The Department of Defense is now reviewing the hiring procedures at military day care centers and other youth facilities after the September arrests of two workers at Fort Myer in Virginia. The workers were charged Tuesday with "assault on a child under the age of 16" in connection with incidents that occurred in September.
By Larry Shaughnessy and Barbara Starr
The risk of sexual assault is growing at the elite military service academies, but victims are reluctant to report the problem, according to a Pentagon report obtained by CNN.
The survey of three military academies was ordered by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and will be released Thursday. CNN obtained advance details of the survey, which shows that the problem is getting worse with a rise in reported assaults and evidence that many more are never discussed.
Some of the most disturbing new information comes from the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland. The survey found that 225 midshipmen, mainly females, reported that they were the victims of unwanted sexual contact in the most recent academic year. That contact includes everything from touching to rape. But only 12 filed formal reports, down nearly 50 percent from last year. The belief is the women still are not confident that their reports will be taken seriously.
The Army is ready to buy different camouflage for its fatigues and equipment, just eight years after troops in Afghanistan were outfitted with new uniform.
The move to a different uniform comes after soldiers, many of them redeploying to Afghanistan, began voicing their criticism in the summer of 2009 of the "universal" camouflage pattern, introduced in 2004 and meant to be used in all types of battle environments.
The problem: the one-size-fits-all approach of the universal pattern wasn't working.
CNN's Chris Lawrence spoke to one camo designer, whose three patterns are in running to outfit U.S. soldiers. But the developer has his eyes set even further down the road, to technology that can make U.S. troops invisible on the battlefield.
By Jennifer Rizzo
A military appeals court has removed the judge who had been overseeing accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan’s court-martial, saying the judge was biased.
The ruling makes Col. Gregory Gross’ order for Hasan’s beard to be shaved invalid. Hasan has objected to the order with various appeals, citing religious freedom.
“We order the removal of the military judge on the basis of the appearance of bias,” the court document states.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces faulted Gross with allowing the proceedings to become a “duel of wills” between him and Hasan rather than focusing on the serious crimes with which Hasan is charged.
Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, has been charged with 13 counts of murder in connection with the November 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, the sprawling Army post in central Texas.
By Chris Lawrence
Pentagon officials are considering a preliminary assessment by Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, on "what he needs going forward" in the country as the U.S. looks to withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2014, a U.S. official tells CNN.
One of the options being considered is "to keep a force of roughly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan post-2014," according to the official who did not want to be identified discussing ongoing deliberations. The official said that force would comprise a small number of special operations forces dedicated to counterterrorism missions, while the remaining troops "would either continue to train and advise Afghan forces, or assist with logistical issues such as medical evacuations and air support operations."
The "10,000 option" is just one of several being examined, the official said. The options represented "different ends of the spectrum" in terms of troop levels, the official added, but the official did not provide any detail as to what those options are.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has not presented a formal recommendation to the White House, Pentagon spokesman George Little said on Monday. FULL POST
By Mike Mount
The U.S. military's combat awards process is in disarray and because of that the official Department of Defense statistics do not accurately reflect those who have been awarded combat medals for bravery in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to some members of Congress.
One of those congressmen, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, is calling for the Army and other services that supply information for the Pentagon's statistics to correct the dozens of disparities, because it is a "disservice" to those who have fought bravely in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and in our past wars and conflicts.
"There have been repetitive and serious breakdowns at multiple levels of the awards process. Problems are visible across all services, but, overall, there appears to be a lack of transparency and even accountability," according to Hunter.
By Larry Shaughnessy
October is when America's favorite color seems to be pink.
NFL football players don pink cleats and hang pink towels from their belts.
The wives of both major presidential candidates risk a fashion police citation by wearing the same shade of pink to the second debate. And the president himself is seen wearing a pink rubber bracelet.
Everywhere there are pink ribbons. In almost every case, this temporary change of hues is in recognition of October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, when public service organizations unite to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.
But when the Army recently sent out pictures of a pink tank at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, saving woman from the disease was not the goal.
Fort Sill is one of the places where soldiers go to learn how to fire artillery at targets. When you are shooting a gun that fires a round the size of a cured ham, you don't shoot at paper targets, you shoot at three-dimensional targets.
Attorneys argued again Thursday about whether accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan can be forcibly shaved so that his stalled court-martial can proceed.
Thursday afternoon's hearing at the Army Court of Criminal Appeals in Virginia was called to address Hasan's continued refusal to shave before court appearances, the Army said.FULL STORY