Rep. Chu: Military ‘perpetual disappointment’ on hazing

Chu said Monday in a statement that the military has been a “perpetual disappointment” when it comes to hazing, citing a lack of urgency among military leaders on the issue.

Chu held a press conference on Capitol Hill after one of the men accused in Lew’s case received 30 days confinement and a reduced rank, and she spoke at a House Armed Services hearing on the issue in March, though she’s not on the committee.

“We are taking action because it has become abundantly clear over the past year that the military won’t,” Chu said in a statement.

The bill, which is co-sponsored by Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Mike Honda (D-Calif.), would create a statutory definition of hazing in the UCMJ to ensure it is a prosecutable crime. It would also call for a national tracking database, and a Government Accountability Office study on each of the services’ hazing training and prevention policies.

Military officials have said they are taking the issue of hazing seriously.

“The small-unit leadership failed. I wish I could take it all back. We should have done better,” Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Michael Barrett told Chu at the March hearing. “But we are aggressively attacking these societal concerns as hard as we could possibly take them, and you have our assurance on that.”