Addressing the release of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee’s (FHIRC) report, which found significant failures with how the Army handles instances of sexual assault and harassment, and the news that Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy will fire or suspend a number of officers at Fort Hood due to a command culture that has been permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement:
“This report shows why cases of sexual assault and harassment must be taken out of the chain of command and put in the hands of trained prosecutors,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These issues are not restricted to Fort Hood—the current system continues to fail our service members and needs a complete overhaul to professionalize the system, hold perpetrators accountable, protect and aid survivors, and to improve military readiness and good order and discipline. We owe it to those who serve.”
Senator Gillibrand has long championed the bipartisan and bicameral Military Justice Improvement Act, which would professionalize how the military prosecutes serious crimes by moving the decision over whether to prosecute them to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors. Uniquely military crimes, compromising the majority of crimes under the UCMJ, and other non-judicial and administrative remedies would stay within the chain of command.
The Military Justice Improvement Act is cosponsored by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Blumenthal (D-CT), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).