FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
AMVETS National Headquarters, July 9, 2018 – In a letter of support sent to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand today, American Veterans (AMVETS) expressed strong support for pending Senate legislation to address military sexual assault cases and problems with how they are investigated by military channels.
“Passage of this law will lead to a more just process for victims of military sexual assault,” AMVETS National Executive Director Joseph Chenelly stated in the letter. He went on to state, “AMVETS believes that military JAG officers, instead of commanders who lack the prosecutorial training and experience to properly handle these cases, should be assigned the responsibility for their investigation and disposition.”
The Military Justice Improvement Act of 2017 (S-2141), if signed into law, will make changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the body of jurisprudence that governs military ethics and conduct, by removing from the accused’s commander authority to dispose of certain felony-level charges such as sexual assault.
In May 2018, the Defense Department released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, which showed a nearly 10 percent increase in service members reporting sexual assault in 2017.
“While commanders are necessarily given broad authority to maintain good order and discipline within their commands, violations involving sexual misconduct remain a problem in terms of prevalence and disposition,” said Chenelly. “This is a trend that must not continue.”
An earlier version of this act, the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 (S-1752), failed to pass. Gillibrand sponsored the current legislation last November. It now has the bipartisan support of 29 legislators.
S-2141 seeks to amend title 10, United States Code, to reform procedures for determinations on disposition of charges and the convening of courts-martial for certain offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and for other purposes.
AMVETS is the nation’s most inclusive Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization. It is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years. amvets.org