U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) joined Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in becoming the 60th cosponsor of the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act to secure its passage in the Senate. This legislation would reform how the military prosecutes serious crimes by moving the decision to prosecute serious crimes from the chain of command to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors.
The bill also provides for several new prevention provisions including improved training for commanders and increased physical security measures.
“There is no place in our military for sexual assault, and we must work to ensure every perpetrator is prosecuted and every victim is heard,” said Sen. Moran. “I appreciate Sens. Ernst, Grassley and Gillibrand’s leadership on this issue, and will continue to work to ensure that we hold perpetrators and enablers of sexual assault in the military accountable.”
The Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act would take critical steps to create a more professional and transparent military justice system for serious crimes — including rape and sexual assault, murder, manslaughter, child endangerment, child pornography, and negligent homicide — and address the need for sexual assault prevention that Department of Defense (DoD) has not implemented. Specifically, the legislation would:
· Move the decision on whether to prosecute serious crimes to independent, trained, and professional military prosecutors, while leaving misdemeanors and uniquely military crimes within the chain of command. By moving this work off of the commander’s plate, it will empower commanders to focus on mission critical activities—while specifically preserving the authorities that a commander needs to provide strong leadership and a successful command climate.
· Ensure the Department of Defense supports criminal investigators and military prosecutors through the development of unique skills needed to properly handle investigations and cases related to sexual assault and domestic violence.
· Require the Secretary of Defense to survey and improve the physical security of military installations – including locks, security cameras, and other passive security measures – to increase safety in lodging and living spaces for service members.
· Increase, and improve training and education on military sexual assault throughout our armed services. This training would help shift the culture in the military and ensure that the armed services can enforce a no-tolerance zone for sexual assault and other grievous crimes.