Subcommittee Report Sides Against Gillibrand on Military Sexual Assault

A majority said removing senior commanders wouldn’t increase the number of sexual assaults reported in the Armed Forces or bolster victim confidence.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) questions military leaders while they testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee on pending legislation regarding sexual assaults in the military June 4, 2013.
National Journal
Jan. 31, 2014, 7:42 a.m.

Re­mov­ing com­mand­ers’ au­thor­ity in mil­it­ary sexu­al-as­sault crimes would neither boost sexu­al-as­sault re­port­ing nor strengthen a be­lief that the mil­it­ary justice sys­tem is fair, ac­cord­ing to a sub­com­mit­tee re­port re­leased Thursday.

“A strong ma­jor­ity of sub­com­mit­tee mem­bers agrees the evid­ence does not sup­port a con­clu­sion that re­mov­ing au­thor­ity to con­vene courts-mar­tial from seni­or com­mand­ers will re­duce the in­cid­ence of sexu­al as­sault or in­crease re­port­ing of sexu­al as­saults in the Armed Forces,” ac­cord­ing to the Role of the Com­mand­er sub­com­mit­tee re­port.

The sub­com­mit­tee, which has nine mem­bers, was cre­ated as part of the Re­sponse Sys­tems to Adult Sexu­al As­sault Crimes Pan­el, es­tab­lished by the 2013 Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Act.

That find­ing sets most of the mem­bers squarely against a pro­pos­al by Sen. Kirsten Gil­librand. The New York Demo­crat has been lob­by­ing her col­leagues for months, try­ing to garner the likely ne­ces­sary 60 votes to pass le­gis­la­tion that would re­move the chain of com­mand’s power to de­cide wheth­er sexu­al-as­sault cases are pro­sec­uted.

It’s a move Pentagon of­fi­cials and Sen. Claire Mc­Caskill — who has a du­el­ing pro­pos­al — have been push­ing hard against. Sen. Harry Re­id said Monday the Sen­ate would de­bate sexu­al-as­sault le­gis­la­tion by mid-Feb­ru­ary, but he didn’t spe­cify if the Sen­ate would take up one or both of the pro­pos­als. He came out in sup­port of Gil­librand’s bill last Novem­ber, but oth­er high-pro­file Demo­crats in­clud­ing Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Carl Lev­in have spoken against it.

Mc­Caskill, re­spond­ing to the re­port, said the find­ings “must in­form any fu­ture de­bate about al­tern­at­ive pro­pos­als.”

Only one of the sub­com­mit­tee mem­bers, Eliza­beth Hill­man, a law pro­fess­or at the Uni­versity of Cali­for­nia Hast­ings Col­lege of the Law, dis­agreed with the sub­com­mit­tee’s re­port. Hill­man, in a sep­ar­ate state­ment, said com­mand­ers “are neither es­sen­tial nor well-suited for their cur­rent role in the leg­al pro­cess of crim­in­al pro­sec­u­tion.”

But most of the sub­com­mit­tee mem­bers be­lieve there isn’t enough evid­ence to sug­gest that “re­mov­ing such au­thor­ity will in­crease con­fid­ence among vic­tims of sexu­al as­sault about the fair­ness of the mil­it­ary justice sys­tem or re­duce their con­cerns about pos­sible re­pris­al for mak­ing re­ports of sexu­al as­sault,” ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

Mem­bers of Con­gress have tweaked how the mil­it­ary deals with sexu­al-as­sault cases in the past few Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Acts, in­clud­ing re­quir­ing new or pro­spect­ive com­mand­ers to un­der­go sexu­al-as­sault pre­ven­tion and re­sponse train­ing, re­mov­ing a com­mand­er’s abil­ity to over­turn jury con­vic­tions, and re­quir­ing a ci­vil­ian re­view if a com­mand­er de­cides against pro­sec­ut­ing. And the re­port sug­gests that more time is needed to see if such changes can cre­ate “mean­ing­ful im­prove­ments” be­fore mak­ing a “sys­tem­ic” change.

What We're Following See More »
SHE IS AMBASSADOR TO CANADA AND A GOP DONOR
Kelly Craft Nominated for UN Post
9 hours ago
THE LATEST
AVOIDS SHUTDOWN WITH A FEW HOURS TO SPARE
Trump Signs Border Deal
1 weeks ago
THE LATEST

"President Trump signed a sweeping spending bill Friday afternoon, averting another partial government shutdown. The action came after Trump had declared a national emergency in a move designed to circumvent Congress and build additional barriers at the southern border, where he said the United States faces 'an invasion of our country.'"

Source:
REDIRECTS $8 BILLION
Trump Declares National Emergency
1 weeks ago
THE DETAILS

"President Donald Trump on Friday declared a state of emergency on the southern border and immediately direct $8 billion to construct or repair as many as 234 miles of a border barrier. The move — which is sure to invite vigorous legal challenges from activists and government officials — comes after Trump failed to get the $5.7 billion he was seeking from lawmakers. Instead, Trump agreed to sign a deal that included just $1.375 for border security."

Source:
COULD SOW DIVISION AMONG REPUBLICANS
House Will Condemn Emergency Declaration
1 weeks ago
THE DETAILS

"House Democrats are gearing up to pass a joint resolution disapproving of President Trump’s emergency declaration to build his U.S.-Mexico border wall, a move that will force Senate Republicans to vote on a contentious issue that divides their party. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Thursday evening in an interview with The Washington Post that the House would take up the resolution in the coming days or weeks. The measure is expected to easily clear the Democratic-led House, and because it would be privileged, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would be forced to put the resolution to a vote that he could lose."

Source:
MILITARY CONSTRUCTION, DRUG FORFEITURE FUND
Where Will the Emergency Money Come From?
1 weeks ago
THE DETAILS

"ABC News has learned the president plans to announce on Friday his intention to spend about $8 billion on the border wall with a mix of spending from Congressional appropriations approved Thursday night, executive action and an emergency declaration. A senior White House official familiar with the plan told ABC News that $1.375 billion would come from the spending bill Congress passed Thursday; $600 million would come from the Treasury Department's drug forfeiture fund; $2.5 billion would come from the Pentagon's drug interdiction program; and through an emergency declaration: $3.5 billion from the Pentagon's military construction budget."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login