***WATCH Blumenthal’s Remarks Here***
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) today joined a bipartisan group of Senators, including Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), to call on the Senate to pass the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act, an amendment that will be offered to the National Defense Authorization Act that would establish an impartial, fair, and accountable military justice system to address the crisis of sexual assault. The Military Justice Improvement Act would remove sole decision-making authority over whether serious crimes move forward to trial from the chain of command to independent, trained military prosecutors.
“I am proud to cosponsor the Military Justice Improvement Act,” said Senator Blumenthal. “By removing the chain of the command from cases of sexual assault, this legislation will put these sensitive decisions in the hands of professional military prosecutors, free commanders to focus on their mission, and protect the privacy of survivors. We must do everything in our power to protect those who protect us, and these changes will send a clear message that sexual assault will not be tolerated in our military.”
According to the latest Department of Defense information, nearly eight out of ten military sexual assault survivors did not have enough trust in the system to report an assault. The Department of Defense appears to have willfully misled Congress by telling lawmakers that sexual assault survivors’ faith in the system is increasing, despite statistics showing the opposite. Fewer sexual assault victims this year were willing to put their names on reports seeking justice, compared to last year; and the percentage of victims willing to openly report the crimes against them declined for the past five years.
For additional information on the Military Justice Improvement Act, visit http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/mjia