Old guard senators challenge changes to how the military handles sexual assault cases

Sexual assault has long been a problem in the military. One in four military women report being sexually assaulted while serving. And yet he continues to exist like the elephant in the room. Why?

Many say it’s because of the system. Specifically, the role and involvement of commanders in the pursuit process. Kirsten Gillibrand is one of many to defend this position. And in various capacities, she is among the old guard senators who are challenging changes to how the military handles sexual assault cases.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the subject so that you can understand better. So, keep reading and don’t stop until you reach the end.

Background background

oldguard-senators-defy-changes-military-sex

Who is Kirsten Gillibrand?

Gillibrand is the second female senator in New York, after Hillary Clinton. She became a senator in 2009 and in 2010 she won a special election to retain the seat. In 2012 and 2018, she was re-elected to full terms.

Although Gillibrand was originally a “Blue Dog Democrat”, she became a “leftist” during her tenure in the Senate. She talked about sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military. Specifically, she criticized her fellow Democrats: President Bill Clinton, Senator Al Franken and Governor Andrew Cuomo, openly for alleged sexual misconduct.

In 2013, Gillibrand proposed a bill to remove sexual assault cases from the army’s chain of command. He failed to get enough votes in March 2014 to break a filibuster. However, in June 2021, it was revealed that the bill only had a few more hurdles to clear.

The notable article providing this information was “Old Guard Senators Who Challenge Military’s Handling of Sexual Assault Cases” from The New York Times.

What is the bill proposed by Kristen Gillibrand?

senators-challenge-how-the-military-deals-with-sex

It is now called the Military Justice Enhancement and Prevention Enhancement Act (MJIPA). This is a bill to reform the adjudication of charges and the convening of courts martial for certain offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and to strengthen the prevention of sexual assault and other crimes in the army. It has 10 sections, and we’ll take a look at one of them below.

Learn about old-guard senators defying changes in military sex affairs

Sect. 2 – Improved decisions to settle charges for certain UCMJ offenses with a maximum authorized sentence of imprisonment of more than one year

First, for the “improvement of determinations”

For charges under UCMJ Title 10, Chapter 47, a violation of paragraph (b) and not excluded under (c), secretaries of military departments shall provide for determinations:

  • Determinations under s. 830 of article 30 of the UCMJ on the preference of the charges
  • Determinations under s. 830 of article 30 of the UCMJ on the settlement of charges
  • Determinations under s. 834 of article 34 of the UCMJ on the referral of charges
  • homeland security

For charges under UCMJ Title 10, Chapter 47, an offense under subsection (b) and not excluded under (c) against a member of the Coast Guard, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for the determinations :

  • Determinations under s. 830 of article 30 of the UCMJ on the preference of the charges
  • Determinations under s. 830 of article 30 of the UCMJ on the settlement of charges
  • Determinations under s. 834 of article 34 of the UCMJ on the referral of charges

Then, for the “covered offences”

Any specified act is an offence:

  • Violations of Sections 893a, 917a, 918, 919, 919a, 919b, 920, 920a, 920b, 920c, 921, 921a, 921b, 922, 924, 924a, 924b, 925, 926, 927, 928(b) and (c ), 928a, 928b, 930, 931, 931a, 931b, 931c, 931d, 931e, 931f, 931g and 932 (items 93a, 117a, 118, 119, 119a, 119b, 120, 120a, 120b, 12b, 1.0 120 chapter 47 of title 10 of the UCMJ.
    • In which the maximum penalty permitted under the chapter includes imprisonment for more than one year.
  • Child pornography, negligent homicide, indecent behavior, indecent language communicated to any child under 16, pimping and prostitution
    • As punishable under the general punitive of article 934 of the UCMJ.
  • Conspiracy to commit an offense at the first point
    • As punishable under UCMJ Title 10, Section 881.
  • Incitement to commit an offense at the first point
    • As punishable under UCMJ Title 10, Section 882.
  • Attempt to commit an offense at the first point
    • As punishable under Section 880 of Title 10 UCMJ.

For “excluded offences”

  • A violation of articles 883 to 917 of title 10 of the UCMJ
    • But not an offense within the meaning of section 893a of section 93a of the UCMJ.
  • An offense under Sections 922a, 923, 923a, or 928(a) of Title 10 of the United States Code
    • What are sections 122a, 123, 123a and 128(a) of the U.
  • An offense under Sections 933 or 934 of Title 10, United States Code
    • What are articles 133 and 134 of the UCMJ
    • But not the offenses punishable under the general punitive article of article 934 of article 134 of the UCMJ.
  • A conspiracy to commit an offense specified above, punishable under section 881 of title 10 of the United States Code (which is section 81 of the UCMJ).
  • A solicitation to commit an offense specified above, punishable under section 882 of title 10 of the United States Code (which is section 82 of the UCMJ).
  • An attempt to commit an offense specified above, punishable under Section 880 of Title 10 of the United States Code (which is Section 80 of the UCMJ.

For “requirements and limits”

Disposition of the charges covered above is subject to:

  • The decision of whether to
    • cause charges to be laid or charges to be referred for trial by court martial must be made by a commissioned officer in authority who:
      • are available for further details as trial counsel under Article 27 of the UCMJ
      • have significant trial experience before General or Special Courts Martial
      • are not part of the accused member’s chain of command

If the decision is to refer the charges to a court martial, the officer making the decision must decide:

  • commit for trial before a General Court Martial (under Article 22 of the UCMJ) or a Special Court Martial (under Article 23 of the UCMJ)

Additionally, under this decision, all known offences, including included minor offences, will be covered for trial and will bind any competent authority to dismiss such charges.

In addition, the officer making the decision must not be subject to coercion or unauthorized influence or coercion.

If the decision is not to refer charges to a General or Special Court Martial, it shall not terminate or alter the authority of Commanding Officers to refer charges for trial by Special Court Martial or Summary Court Martial , nor to impose a non-judicial sanction in connection with the conduct referred to in these charges.

Finally, the decision to commit the charges for trial before a general or special court martial is not subject to Article 34 of the UCMJ if the officer making the decision finds that:

  • The specification alleges an infringement under the UCMJ
  • There are probable grounds to believe that the accused committed the offense charged
  • A court martial would have jurisdiction over the accused and the offense charged

For “construction with charges on other offences”

Nothing above shall be construed as modifying or affecting the authority of preference, disposition or referral of charges under Chapter 47 of Title 10 of the UCMJ.

For “Policies and Procedures”

  • Secretaries of military departments and the Secretary of Homeland Security shall revise policies and procedures to comply with this section.
  • The General Counsel of the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security should review the revised policies and procedures together to ensure that there is no lack of uniformity in the policies and procedures.
  • The Secretary of Defense will recommend such changes to the Courts Martial Manual to ensure compliance.
  • The Secretary of Defense should revise policies and procedures to improve the specialization of criminal investigators and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of sexual assault and domestic violence investigations.

The bill is backed by 66 senators, whom The New York Times calls “Old Guard Senators.” On July 20, 2021, it was passed as an amendment to the Senate Armed Forces Personnel Subcommittee markup of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Here is Gillibrand’s statement on the matter:

defy-change-how-military-sexual-assault

Conclusion

Now you know all about, “Old Guard Senators Challenging Changes to How the Military Handles Sexual Assault Cases” and the Military Justice Enhancement Bill and the increased prevention (MJIIPA) at the heart of the matter. If you support this bill, you will be happy to know that it was passed on July 20, 2021 as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.

Comments are closed.