Ernst Presses DOD for Further Answers, Action on Sexual Harassment Allegations against a Senior Official

This follows Ernst’s request for a DOD Inspector General report of the allegations, any actions taken by DOD in response to the employee complaints, a summary of awards the employee received, and the sexual harassment policies and training for employees at the agency.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a combat veteran and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, is pressing the Department of Defense (DOD) for answers regarding sexual harassment allegations against a senior civilian who served as the Executive Director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
In a letter to the DOD official who supervised the MDA executive, Ernst is requiring DOD to identify the actions they took to stop this harassment, explain how this went on for so long, and ensure accountability and consequences for senior leaders who harass their employees. Shortly after the initial findings of the DOD Inspector General’s investigation were released, the senior civilian retired from his post.
Sexual harassment is unacceptable at any level but exceptionally inappropriate from senior leaders,” Ernst wrote.I am extremely concerned that the lack of timely action has a perception of immunity by senior leaders from laws, rules, and regulations prohibiting sexual harassment. The retirement without consequence reinforces this perception that leaders harass employees with impunity due to their senior status.”
Despite many employees having knowledge of the misconduct and the implementation of interventions designed to put a stop to the unwanted behavior, the DOD official continued to engage in a pattern of sexual harassment. Ernst is requesting the outcomes of DOD’s investigation into the allegations against this official and a full record of sexual harassment training he participated in while working at MDA.