Senate Armed Services chair throws support behind changing roles of military commanders in sexual assault prosecutions
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (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.”
A years-long effort, largely led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (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 Biden 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.”