“The committee is working on putting that hearing together,” Chafin said in an email. “We don't comment about witnesses or other matters until a hearing is officially scheduled; generally one week before the event.”
Advocates for sexual assault victims — along with 78 House lawmakers — have pressed for the Armed Services panel to hold a public hearing on Lackland for several months.
They have criticized McKeon for not doing enough to investigate the problems at Lackland. Protect Our Defenders, the group that has been most vocal about the Lackland scandal, organized a Twitter campaign last year to push for public hearings and a congressional investigation after the Armed Services panel had a closed-door briefing with Air Force Secretary Michael Donley.
The Lackland scandal has grown to 30 basic training instructors being investigated for inappropriate relationships with 56 victims, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Six instructors have been convicted of sexual misconduct.
Nancy Parrish, president of Protect Our Defenders, called the upcoming hearing “a significant step forward.”
Parrish said in a statement that the group wanted to work with the committee “to make sure that the voices of survivors of sexual assault are heard at the hearing.”
“We are hopeful that this hearing will be an opportunity to get to the bottom of the sexual abuse scandal at Lackland Air Force Base and addressing the epidemic of sexual assault throughout our armed forces,” Parrish said.
McKeon has previously said his committee is monitoring the military’s Lackland investigation closely, and will wait until that concludes to decide whether to conduct a separate congressional inquiry.