Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWhich proposals will survive in the Democrats' spending plan? Proposals to reform supports for parents face chopping block Under pressure, Democrats cut back spending MORE (D-N.Y.) said the military’s failure to address sexual assault should not be tolerated.

“The [Department of Defense] has failed for the last 20 years,” Gillibrand said on the Senate floor Thursday. “The latest data shows they still don’t get it.”


Gillibrand cited the latest DOD report showing no decrease in unwanted sexual contact. More than 19,000 reported unwanted sexual contact in 2014, roughly the same as in 2010.

“Despite Pentagon spin, these numbers do not show an increased trust of the men and women in uniform,” Gillibrand said. “There is no mission in the world in our military where this much failure would be allowed.”

Gillibrand asked unanimous consent to hold a vote on her bill that would take the military chain of command out of the sexual assault reporting process.

Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPennsylvania Republican becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress McCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral Mayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case MORE (R-S.C.) objected.

“The right answer is to purge the military of sexual assault,” Graham said. “But do not destroy the structure that makes it the finest military on the planet.”

The Senate will vote later Thursday on the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Inhofe and Graham said the bill already includes more sexual assault protections — last year the Senate also passed a measure to increase legal protections for victims of sexual assault.

Gillibrand said their reforms aren’t working, but suggested her bill would.