WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee, released the following statement in light of the Department of Defense Inspector General’s report on the military’s compliance with federal law as it relates to sexual assault investigations and prosecution.
“High-quality investigations completed by qualified professionals are essential for holding perpetrators of sexual assault accountable for their crimes,” Rep. Speier said. “Over the last decade, reports of sexual assault have doubled, yet investigator staffing has stayed flat, and the military criminal investigative organizations are still routinely assigning inexperienced, uncertified investigators to handle extremely challenging sex crime cases. It’s hardly surprising that these investigations too often fail to result in successful prosecutions.”
“Today’s damning report from the Pentagon’s Inspector General provides even more evidence that the military services aren’t serious in addressing this scourge and have failed to adequately fund and staff their criminal investigative functions. These are the same failures that set back the investigation into SPC Vanessa Guillén’s murder and so many other violent offenses.” Rep. Speier added. “The Air Force, Army, and Navy should heed the appropriations report language that I authored and that directed them to increase budgets for criminal investigations and stop treating these critical functions as piggy banks for unrelated priorities. I expect to see significant funding increases for investigators, digital forensics examiners, and information systems to increase efficiency and improve compliance with the law and the Defense Department’s own policies. Survivors have waited far too long for investigative resources commensurate to these terrible crimes. The military services must act now to implement the Inspector General’s recommendations and finally make good on what’s been a hollow promise of justice.”