New Air Force Academy Head Promises Positive Environment

A new superintendent took command of the Air Force Academy (search) on Monday, saying his goal is to make the school a safe environment for cadets amid complaints of sexual assault and religious intolerance.

"We have to have a positive learning environment, one that is free from discrimination and assault," Lt. Gen. John Regni (search) said. "Right on the heels of that is safety."

He succeeds Lt. Gen. John Rosa (search), who was brought in to help the academy recover from a sexual assault scandal. Dozens of female cadets said they were punished or forced out after reporting sexual assault.

Regni said his job would be easier thanks to widespread changes that Rosa oversaw in his 2 1/2 years at the academy.

In recent months, the school has been shaken by allegations that evangelical Christian staffers and cadets at the academy had harassed students of other faiths. In October, an academy graduate filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the school's leaders fostered an environment of intolerance.

The Air Force issued new guidelines on religion in August.

Regni was previously commander of the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

Rosa is retiring from the Air Force and will become president of his alma mater, The Citadel (search), the state military college in South Carolina.