Navy May Lose Jobs Due To Sex Scandal

THE Navy, reeling from the Tailhook sex abuse scandal and the forced resignation of its civilian secretary, suffered another blow when a House panel slashed 10,000 positions from its headquarters staff.

The House Appropriations Committee approved a $253 billion military budget June 29 that targets administrative jobs at the Navy's departmental and major command headquarters as punishment for the Tailhook incident.

The Navy said June 29 it didn't immediately know the total number of people who work at its headquarters. "It's directly connected to the obstruction and arrogance in the Navy," said Rep. John Murtha (D) of Pennsylvania, chairman of Appropriations' defense subcommittee.

At the 1991 meeting of the Tailhook Association, at least 26 women - half of them Navy officers - said they were fondled and disrobed while being pushed down a gantlet of drunken aviators in a Las Vegas hotel hallway.

Initial Navy inquiries implicated only two men, although 1,500 people were interviewed. A Navy investigator said some senior officers refused to allow their men to be photographed or otherwise impeded by the probe.

The Pentagon's inspector general is investigating. The Navy has said about 70 officers could face disciplinary action.

The full House is expected to approve the job cuts July 2, when it takes up the defense package. The Senate is expected to complete its version in September.

The jobs could be put back, however, when House and Senate members meet to write a final bill, but any changes depend on the Navy.

"Unless we really see an investigation with some results ... I would think they won't get these people restored," Mr. Murtha said.

The lawmaker, who last week sent a letter to Defense Secretary Dick Cheney demanding the resignation of Navy Secretary H. Lawrence Garrett III, suggested that Rear Adm. John Snyder be the next to depart.

The Navy removed Admiral Snyder from his command at a top naval aviation center after he failed to act swiftly on a complaint by an aide that she had been sexually harassed at the convention.

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