Senate Armed Services chair throws support behind changing roles of military commanders in sexual assault prosecutions

Senate Armed Services chair throws support behind changing roles of military commanders in sexual assault prosecutions
© Greg Nash

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack ReedJack ReedHouse panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors Senate panel votes to make women register for draft Senators hail 'historic changes' as competing proposals to tackle military sexual assault advance MORE (D-R.I.) on Sunday threw his support behind changing the role of military commanders in the prosecution of sexual assault.

In a statement Sunday, Reed said that "sexual assault and harassment are pervasive problems in the U.S. military and American culture and we must take comprehensive action to halt sexual violence, hold violators accountable, and support survivors."

 

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A years-long effort, largely led by Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandTreat broadband as infrastructure and we have a chance to get it right House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors To make energy green, remove red tape MORE (D-N.Y.), to take decisions about whether to prosecute sexual assault within the military out of the hands of the chain of command recently reached a turning point, with her bill to do so recently surpassing the threshold of 61 votes in the Senate. 

“Senator Gillibrand has long advocated for change and the Commission has largely accepted her proposal on sexual assault.  With that in mind, the IRC’s recommendation to change the role of the chain of command in the prosecution of sexual assault cases will be included in the Chairman’s mark that we will soon take up," Reed said, referring to a recommendation from the Independent Review Commission (IRC) on Sexual Assault in the Military.

He added, "At the end of conference, I fully expect a robust change in the role of the commander in sexual assault cases will be sent to President BidenJoe BidenCDC chief clarifies vaccine comments: 'There will be no nationwide mandate' Overnight Defense: First group of Afghan evacuees arrives in Virginia | Biden signs Capitol security funding bill, reimbursing Guard | Pentagon raises health protection level weeks after lowering it Biden urges local governments to stave off evictions MORE for signature.  While the first round of reform will focus on the issue of accountability, I hope and intend to incorporate the IRC’s recommendations on prevention, climate and culture, and victim care and support as we move through the legislative year."