U.S. President Barack Obama says sexual assaults in the U.S. military undermine trust in the armed forces.
The president used a commencement speech at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland Friday to tackle recent reports of widespread sexual violence in the military.
"Those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that make our military strong. That's why we have to be determined to stop these crimes, because they've got no place in the greatest military on Earth."
A recent Pentagon report says the number of sexual assaults among people in the military increased by 37 percent last year. It estimates there were 26,000 sexual assault cases last year, ranging from groping to rape.
In addition, several recent arrests of military personnel on charges of sexual assault have added to the military's embarrassment.
The developments have prompted some members of Congress to introduce legislation proposing tougher penalties for sexual assaults in the military.