WASHINGTON - The Army says it removed 588 soldiers from sensitive jobs such as sexual assault counselors and recruiters after finding they had committed infractions such as sexual assault, child abuse or drunken driving.
The move resulted from orders by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last year that all the services review the qualifications of people in those jobs as part of an effort to stem sexual assaults in the military.
The Army went beyond Hagel's order, reviewing qualifications and records of 20,000 soldiers who worked in those jobs as well as others they call "positions of trust," such as drill sergeants and training school instructors.
Aside from losing their jobs, it wasn't clear whether those who failed the review were reassigned or kicked out of the military.
The action by the Army also comes amid renewed debate in Congress over sexual assault in the military.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., held a hearing Wednesday on the relationship between military sexual assault, posttraumatic stress disorder and suicide.
"No matter where any one person falls in this debate, we can all agree that we must fully understand the long-term psychological toll on the survivors of sexual trauma in the military and the best practices for effective treatment," Gillibrand said, noting that 22 veterans commit suicide every day.