Update on the Military Justice Improvement Act Sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

MJIAIn January, veterans were able to address the House Armed Services Committee regarding the Lackland Basic Training sex abuse scandal.  It was pointed out that military sexual assault is military wide and that most are not reporting due to fear of retaliation.  Shortly after testimony was given, SecDef Panetta announced the combat exclusion policy was lifted and the media was poised to move in that direction.

Then in March, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand asked for a hearing on Military Sexual Assault with those on the personnel subcommittee to the Senate Armed Services Committee. At that time four other veterans testified and affirmed that removing the Chain of Command would have helped prevent their current situations due to the retaliation.

Senator Gillibrand announces in May that she is going to sponsor the Military Justice Improvement Act, which is a law that would restrict the Commanders from handling violent crimes of over a year or more sentence.  She introduced it to the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senator Carl Levin shut the whole thing down.  It was at this time that Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator Jon Tester, Senator Jim Inhofe, and Senator Levin started to fight for the Department of Defense and keep everything status quo.

Right now we are trying to get support from the other Senators to force the MJIA bill back on the table.  We have both Democrats and Republicans on board and recently Conservatives like Senator Rand Paul, Senator Chuck Grassley, and Senator Ted Cruz have signed on because they understand the constitutional aspect of this dilemma.  We should not be reporting violent crimes to our boss.  We should be reporting violent crimes to a legal authority of some sort. One person, ie the Commander, should not have sole discretion over whether or not we proceed with justice.

Please contact your Senators: http://phonebank.org/campaign/fight-justice-military-sexual-assault-survivors

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