Thursday, May 8, 2014

House Armed Services Committee action on Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Action

The House Armed Services Committee has refused, by a vote of 34-28, to transfer the power to dispose of charges from commanders to judge advocates. According to ABC News:
In a win for the Pentagon, the committee endorsed leaving the authority to prosecute rapes and other serious crimes with military commanders.
In an emotionally charged debate, the panel narrowly rejected a measure that would have stripped commanders of the longstanding authority to decide whether to pursue a case, especially if it was related to sexual assault, and hand the job to seasoned military lawyers. The vote was 34-28.
Pentagon leaders vigorously oppose the change in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, arguing that commanders should have more responsibility, not less, for the conduct of the men and women they lead in war and peacetime. Female lawmakers in the Senate and House have questioned whether the military's mostly male leadership understands differences between relatively minor sexual offenses and serious crimes that deserve swift and decisive justice.
"We have not fixed this," said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., sponsor of the measure.
Offering their support for the measure were two House members who have experienced war — one who lost both legs and partial use of an arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq and one who served in the 29th Infantry Brigade's medical operations near Baghdad.
Both veterans are women.
"I love the military with every bone in my body," Rep. Tammy Duckworth said. "I am devastated to see how sexual predators are treated."
The Illinois Democrat said she "gradually, painfully" came to the conclusion that decisions on prosecution should be taken out of the military chain of command.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said the voices of the victims need to be heard.
Opponents of the measure maintained that commanders must be held accountable and that the military leadership was working to address the problem.
Watch for floor amendments when the bill comes up for consideration by the full House during the week of May 19. 

1 comment:

  1. christopher chaiMay 9, 2014 at 2:05 AM

    “Pentagon leaders vigorously oppose the change in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, arguing that commanders should have more responsibility, not less, for the conduct of the men and women they lead in war and peacetime.”

    What?

    So… leaders in the Pentagon are saying… commanders are at fault and therefore they should have more authority, responsibility, and accountability to change the rape culture in the military…? So indirectly they are blaming the commanders?

    Also, are they (military leaders and politicians) implying that if trained military lawyers were to take over the case, commanders somehow are no longer capable of combating rape culture? Nonsense! Commanders at every level have enough power and authority to combat rape culture in their assigned units regardless of which law passes! They can make systematic changes within their units -right now. We don’t need a vote in the Armed Services Committee to change the rape culture… Some politicians are framing the message as if the commanders’ hands are tied until they have more authority.

    Let’s have military commanders focus on the agenda of changing the rape culture within their spectrum. And let’s have trained investigators and prosecutors handle the incident if perpetrators decide to go against commanders’ agenda.

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