President Barack Obama issued a new directive last week that will look into the high rate of sexual assault among military members and continue to push for progress in sexual assault prevention and response. 

In a statement released by the White House, Obama said he directed Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey to create a "full-scale" progress report on the military's handling of sexual assault cases by Dec. 1, 2014. 

"If I do not see the kind of progress I expect, then we will consider additional reforms that may be required to eliminate this crime from our military ranks and protect our brave service members who stand guard for us every day at home and around the world," Obama said. 

Hagel added in a separate statement that eliminating sexual assault is one of the DOD's top priorities. The defense secretary has already begun working on several reforms to address this issue, calling on Congress in April 2013 to amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice, holding commanders accountable, strengthening oversight committees and providing more services for sexual assault victims.

According to PolicyMic, data compiled by the Pentagon released last November showed that sexual assaults in the military increased by 43 percent between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.