WASHINGTON (AFPS, May 7, 2013) -- The Defense Department wants to eradicate sexual assault from its ranks and is putting in place a new strategy to guide efforts against the crime, the director of the Pentagon's sexual assault prevention and response office said.

The strategy builds on guidance from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton said in an interview before the strategy was released.

"It operationalizes those tasks and defines our priorities and actions and really provides authoritative guidance to all DOD agencies and components on sexual assault prevention and response program," the general said.

The strategy aligns all programs in the department with the five lines of effort from the Joint Chiefs: prevention, investigation, accountability, advocacy and assessment, Patton said. "We see all those being essential pieces in our multidisciplinary approach," he added.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants the strategy to synchronize, reinforce and enhance efforts throughout the department, Patton said. This update to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Strategic Plan is the first since 2009.

The strategy clearly defines priorities, objectives and tasks, the general said. It also looks to measure progress, with the primary measures of effectiveness for the sexual assault prevention and response program being the reduction of sexual assault prevalence, and the increase in the number of victims that step forward and report, he added.