Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Martin Dempsey, seen here in this Dec. 4, 2013, file photo, issued a rare joint statement aimed at concerns about ethics and misconduct in the force. (Paul J. Richards / AFP)
The Pentagon’s top two leaders issued a rare joint statement aimed at concerns about ethics and misconduct in the force.
The statement came after a series of high-level, closed-door meetings Monday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel held with top military and civilian leaders in which a primary topic was “military professionalism,” a Pentagon spokesman said.
Hagel and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, spoke directly to the force in a one-minute video that was posted online.
“The respect our military has earned is built on the character of our people, military and civilian alike. It must never be taken for granted,” Hagel said.
“That’s why we must rekindle within the force both our understanding and our resolve as a profession,” Dempsey added. “We must strengthen the enduring norms and values that define us and continue to be a source of trust and pride for our nation — together we must step up to this challenge.”
Last month, Hagel expressed concern about potentially “deep” problems with misconduct in the force. He pointed to examples of cheating, sexual assault and personnel misconduct among senior officers.