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Dempsey has doubts about probing mental health

Thursday - 9/19/2013, 3:36am  ET

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey speak during a news conference at The Pentagon, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013. Hagel is ordering the Pentagon to review the physical security of all U.S. defense facilities worldwide and the security clearances that allow access to them. Hagel ordered the reviews in response to Monday's shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, where gunman Aaron Alexis killed 12 people before being killed in a shootout with police. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, says those who have served in the military should not be stigmatized by having to answer questions about their mental health status on security clearance forms.

Dempsey's comments were part of a news conference in which Pentagon leaders announced a review of the security clearance process in response to Monday's shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.

Aaron Alexis, a former Navy reservist, had been undergoing mental health treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs but was not stripped of his security clearance.

Dempsey expressed doubts that questions about mental health on an application form would have revealed the problems Alexis was experiencing.

He said he believes service members should have the opportunity to overcome their mental health challenges without being stigmatized.


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