What others say: Air Force changes training for recruiters

The Air Force has come a ways in reforming recruit training since sex-abuse scandals rocked the service’s boot camp at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. And it is now making equally important strides with recruiters.

An Express-News article by Sig Christenson on Monday shed some light on the Air Force’s revamped training program for recruiters — Inspire, Dissuade, Detect, Deter and Hold Accountable, also known as ID3A.

It was bad enough when sexual abuse occurred during boot camp, where trainers occupied particularly powerful positions over vulnerable recruits. But recruiters also occupy a position of power, dictating whether an eager potential recruit can get in and under what circumstances.

One of the most important changes came in who could become recruiters. Air Force personnel used to volunteer for the duty. Now, they are chosen by commanders worldwide and are thoroughly vetted.

The revamped program emphasizes the service’s core values — integrity, excellence and service before self. And lines have been drawn.

There are now strict prohibitions on personal and social contacts with potential recruits. And applicants have been empowered to report inappropriate contact.

At least one task remains. It is, however, in Congress’ court. Congress earlier this year reformed much of how the military handles sexual assaults.

Commanders can no longer overturn convictions on sexual assaults. Victims now get their own lawyers to defend them against a system that seemed to re-victimize them. And civilian review is now required if a commander vetoes a prosecutor’s wish to go to trial.

While these are improvements, what’s significantly left undone is taking away such decisions away from commanders altogether and placing them with experts in the legal process.

The Senate rejected this measure by New York Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. It should revisit the issue.

— San Antonio (Texas) Express-News,

Aug. 19

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