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Pentagon May Use Money To Fund Domestic Violence Task Force

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Four Fort Bragg soldiers have either murdered or been charged with killing their wives in the past two months. The Pentagon may receive federal funding to find out the cause.

Money for a study of domestic violence by the Pentagon is included in the $355 billion defense budget approved Thursday. Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minnesota, added an amendment which, he says, was prompted by the killings at Ft. Bragg.

Fort Bragg officials are already looking into what it can do to stop the violence. In the past few weeks, the wives of four Fort Bragg soldiers have been killed. Investigators say in two cases, their husbands killed them. Two of those soldiers committed suicide.

Military officials have said that the stress of wartime deployments may be adding to already shaky marriages.

Sen. Wellstone's amendment to the Defense bill seeks to reduce domestic violence in three ways:

  • A multi-disciplinary, confidential Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team would investigate every domestic fatality in the military. The team would determine what services were provided to the victim and the offender, and what might have prevented the crime.
  • Millions of dollars would be spent to put victims' advocates at every military installation. Those advocates would provide confidential help to victims.
  • The Secretary of Defense would have to report to Congress on implementing the recommendations of the Defense Department Task Force on Domestic Violence.
  • The program would encompass the entire Defense Department, including all branches of the service.

    The Defense Department's Task Force On Domestic Violence already exists, but officials with Wellstone's office said that its recommendations have not been acted upon.