Washington, DC – Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee (MILPERS), released the following statement after her amendment was incorporated into the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Recent reports indicating an alarming 127% increase at the military service academies in unwanted sexual contact over a four-year period and decreasing reporting rates of these incidents, from 16% to 12%, show the need for independent prosecutorial review is greater than ever.
“Today, Congress took a momentous step forward in the fight for justice for sexual assault survivors and the military criminal justice system,” Chair Speier said. “I have spoken to countless survivors who saw their dreams, and bright futures, extinguished after reporting assaults and harassment. These amazing candidates, many of them who lead their academy classes in grades and citizenship, deserve a fair and just independent review process. Congress must do everything it can to ensure the end of sexual assault in our military academies and beyond.”
Chair Speier’s amendment would create a four-year pilot program for a chief prosecutor to review all sexual assault reports at military academies and make recommendations on whether those cases should be tried. After being voted on by the Armed Services Committee, the bill is now slated to go to the House floor and then Senate conference.