Congresswoman Speier Statement on New Sexual Assault Policies to be Released by Department of Defense

August 8, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Jackie Speier (D- San Francisco/San Mateo) today released the following statement on the Department of Defense’s proposed new round of military sexual assault policies:

“I applaud Secretary Hagel for showing the willingness to tackle the long-standing, deeply-engrained problem of sexual abuse in our military. However, the proposed new rules leave me underwhelmed – these are baby steps. There are some positives: streamlining the handling of unrestricted reports and modifications to Article 32 hearings could both potentially produce better investigations. But, overall, there is nothing here that will significantly curb sexual predators and their behavior, nothing that will guarantee the safety of victims who report abuse, and nothing that will fix the ongoing problems keeping cases inside the chain of command.

“The problem in the military is that ‘zero tolerance’ often translates into ‘zero accountability.’ They tolerate by often allowing the perpetrator to stay in the military. We need sweeping changes; I’d call these new rules ‘marginal improvements.’”

The new executive rules are outlined in an internal Pentagon memo reported in numerous media outlets on Thursday, August 8. While the memo is still a draft and has not been approved yet, the final version is expected to be released as early as this week.