Three armed forces personnel have been suspended for sending emails that denigrate women. It is alleged these men exchanged emails and other material that degrades others and refers to illicit drugs.
A further five are facing suspension over the emails.
Another nine people appear to have been involved in the distribution of the emails and are still being investigated.
At a press conference this afternoon, Army Chief Lieutenant General David Morrison said three of the persons of interest may be of interest to the NSW Police.
In addition, there are around 90 Australian Defence Force personnel who may have been on the periphery of these exchanges. They are also being investigated.
The highest ranking officer is a lieutenant-colonel. The others are either majors, captains, warrant officers, sergeants or corporals.
The emails were sent from a defence computer since 2010.
General Morrison told reporters: “I’m appalled at this stuation.”
He said the emails were symptoms of a culture problem within the Defence Force and is something that he will be continuing to investigate.
He said in a statement: "I am serious about eliminating unacceptable behaviour from our organisation and I remain resolutely committed to reforming our culture."
The emails are "explicit, derogatory, demeaning and repugnant," he said.
He confirmed that he believes the issue to be worse than the Skype scandal.
“They are members of the defence force. They are members of the public service. And they are members of the wider public,” he told reporters.
“In the matters that we’re looking at now, these are men who have been part of the defence force in excess of ten years”
At least five women were victims of the inappropriate emails. Some of those were members of the Defence Force.
According to General Morrison: "The modern ADF must embrace its diversity. Every person in the Australian Defence Force deserves the right to serve without any kind of physical, mental and sexual abuse and I will defend their right to do so in a fair, just and inclusive workplace."
Lieutenant General Morrison said he took responsibility for the scandal.
"It's on me," he said.
"I'm responsible for this, I'm the chief of the Australian army. The culture of the army is in my hands during my tenure and I'm doing as much as I humanly can to improve it."
Defence minister Stephen Smith said he had been briefed and support the Chief of Army's actions.