Asked about the mission shift, Army public affairs officials denied that the service’s mission has changed. Army spokeswoman Stephanie Hoehne said she was not at the briefing mentioned by the officer and thus could not comment on it.
“I do know the chief of staff of the Army said stopping sexual assault is his ‘No. 1 priority,’ which would be appropriate for him in his Title X role as the person ultimately responsible for recruiting, training and equipping the force,” she said. “Stopping this problem of sexual assaults in the ranks is certainly within his charter and has his focus.”
Ms. Hoehne added: “The constitutional mandate for the Army to ‘provide for the common defense’ has not changed.”
Spokesman Lt. Col. Justin Platt also said in an email that the Army’s mission remains “to fight and win our nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders.”
Col. Platt also quoted Gen. Odierno from his June 4 testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee: “Two weeks ago, I told my commanders that combating sexual assault and sexual harassment within the ranks is our No. 1 priority,” the four-star general said. “I said that because as chief my mission is to train and prepare our soldiers for war. These crimes cut to the heart of the Army’s readiness for war. They destroy the fabric of our force, soldier and unit morale. We will fix this problem.”