WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley today called on the Senate to pass the Military Justice Improvement Act to help make sure sexual assault is treated as the serious crime it is. Grassley joined Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, fellow senators and a sexual assault survivor at a news conference urging Senate consideration and passage as part of the National Defense Authorization Act under consideration.
“The Senate has come close to passing this provision before, but some senators were influenced by military brass who argued for the status quo,” Grassley said. “Now we know the Pentagon’s case against our legislation doesn’t hold water. It’s time for the Senate to pass the Military Justice Improvement Act.”
Grassley said a report from the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders and reporting from the Associated Press show the Pentagon appeared to be manipulating the facts. The Pentagon claimed local prosecutors lacked interest in prosecuting military sexual assault cases. The local prosecutors said that isn’t the case. Grassley and Gillibrand have called on the secretary of Defense and President Obama to respond. In the meantime, they are working to offer the Military Justice Improvement Act as an amendment to the defense authorization bill as soon as possible.
The Military Justice Improvement Act would take the prosecution of sexual assault cases out of the chain of command. It would set up an impartial, fair, and accountable military justice system
Grassley and Gillibrand also are working to advance their legislation to improve justice in campus sexual assault cases.