Panetta orders investigation into Defense Department childcare centers


US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta listens as he and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey (out of frame) conduct a Pentagon press conference September 27, 2012 in Washington, DC. Panetta slammed Hamid Karzai this week over his comments about the US military presence in Afghanistan.


Paul J. Richards

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has ordered an investigation into all Defense Department childcare centers to make sure personnel staffing them are being properly screened, Foreign Policy reported.

Panetta ordered the probe after the Army found security problems at a major base in Virginia, FP wrote.

"Military children are precious members of our Defense Department family," Panetta said. "As a department, protecting our service members and their families is paramount."

The Associated Press reported that the head of Defense has asked for a global investigation into practices at all US military day care centers. There are 283 day care centers worldwide, according to Panetta's press secretary, George Little, said the AP.

On Sept. 26, two Army employees were arrested after being accused of assaulting children at a DoD childcare center in Fort Myer, Virginia.

Initial investigations show at least 30 workers there have backgrounds that could make them unsuitable to care for children, two officials told the AP.