Prepared Floor Remarks by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Urges Colleagues to Pass the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act
Monday, May 24, 2021

 
I call on my colleagues to pass this bill, the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act, by unanimous consent.
 
I first joined Senator Gillibrand in advocating for this legislation back in 2013, after truly horrifying reports out of the Pentagon about the rate of sexual assault and other criminal offenses going unpunished, and a recommendation from a commission on how to improve the system.
 
We’ve been pushing for this bill ever since, despite promises from the DOD that they had everything under control. We heard time and time again about new initiatives to stop sexual assault and harassment.
 
They haven’t worked. In the most recent review, almost 21,000 soldiers were victims of sexual assault. Only 4 percent of cases went to a trial. 62 percent of those who reported sexual assault experienced retaliation, and in 2/3 of cases, the retaliation comes from inside the chain of command.
 
The DOD has had more than enough time to try their way to fix the problem. It’s clear a new approach is needed.
 
By moving the decision to prosecute out of the chain of command, perpetrators of sexual assault and other serious crimes will be held accountable.
 
Survivors will have more confidence in the process. Retaliation will be less likely.
 
This year, there’s fresh support for the effort. The new Secretary of Defense, Secretary Austin, has indicated that addressing this issue is a priority.
 
A DOD panel of experts that was convened recommended taking the decision out of the chain of command.
 
The President has signaled his support and the bill in the Senate has over 60 bipartisan cosponsors, including my fellow Senator from Iowa, Senator Ernst.
 
We’ve been waiting almost a decade, there’s no need to wait any longer. I urge my colleagues to show unanimous support for protecting our men and women in the military, and allow this bill to pass.