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Secretary of Defense Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinDefence and national security — Russia sends warnings to the West NATO official says Russian-Ukrainian war ‘fast approaching’ stalemate: report The Hill’s Morning Report – All eyes on the Supreme Court MORE established a Suicide Prevention and Response Independent Review Committee (SPRIRC) to address and prevent suicide in the military, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.

What the panel will do: The committee “will conduct a comprehensive review of the ministry’s efforts to address and prevent suicide,” Austin wrote in a memorandum establishing the panel.

The panel will also examine ongoing actions to address sexual assault in the military and the recommendations of the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military.

This is to ensure that the recommendations made by the suicide prevention panel are “synchronized with current prevention activities and capacities,” Austin wrote.

The harsh reality: In 2020, 580 members died by suicide, according to the Pentagon’s annual report on suicides published in September 2021.

The report found that the suicide rate in the active component of the military fell from 20.3 per 100,000 in 2015 to 28.7 suicides per 100,000 service members in 2020.

During this period, there was no change in suicide rates in the reserve elements and the National Guard.

Next Steps: Austin will direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to issue a memorandum identifying committee members, schedule of installation visits, and committee charter.

The panel will visit several military installations as part of its work, including Fort Campbell, Ky.; Camp Lejeune, NC; Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.; Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska; Camp Humphreys, South Korea; and the North Carolina National Guard.

The committee will begin its work no later than May 14 and will begin visiting these facilities no later than August 1.

The panel will send Austin an initial report for review by Dec. 20 before sending its recommendations to Congress by Feb. 18, 2023.

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