NAESV Summary of Recent Military Sexual Assault (MSA) Legislation and Policy May 20, 2013 S.

871 The Combating Military Sexual Assault Act of 2013 by Senators Murray and Ayotte and other bipartisan co-sponsors • • Provides victims of sexual assault with Special Victims’ Counsel – a military lawyer who will assist sexual assault victims throughout the process Enhances the responsibilities and authority of DoD’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office so that it can better oversee efforts to combat MSA across the armed forces and regularly track and report on a range of MSA statistics, including assault rate, number of cases brought to trial, and compliance with appropriate laws and regulations within each of the individual services. Refers sexual assault cases to the general court-martial level when sexual assault charges are filed or to the next superior competent authority when there is a conflict of interest in the immediate chain of command. Prohibits sexual contact between instructors and trainees during and within 30 days of completion of basic training or its equivalent. Ensures that Sexual Assault Response Coordinators are available to members of the National Guard and Reserve at all times and regardless of whether they are operating under Title 10 or Title 32 authority.

• •

S. 967 The Military Justice Improvement Act by Senator Gillibrand and bipartisan cosponsors

• •

Removes the decision whether to take a case to special or general court-martial out of the chain of command and give that discretion to experienced military prosecutors for all crimes punishable by one year or more in confinement, except crimes that are uniquely military in nature. Codifies proposed changes to the UCMJ’s Article 60 so that the convening authority may not set aside a guilty finding or change a finding of guilty to a lesser included offense. The legislation further alters Article 60 to require the convening authority to prepare a written justification for any changes made to court-martial sentences. Provides the offices of the military chiefs of staff with the authority and discretion to establish courts, empanel juries and choose judges to hear cases (i.e. convening authority). Eliminates factors related to character and military service of the accused in terms of the initial disposition of the case. Does not amend Article 15. Commanding officers will still be able to order nonjudicial punishment for offenses not directed to trial by the prosecutors.

S. 538 by Senator McCaskill

Ends a commander’s ability to nullify a jury verdict and requires a commander to provide written justification for any decision commuting or lessening a sentence after a guilty verdict in a court-martial.

HR 1867 by Reps. Turner and Tsongas

• •

• • • • •

Limitations on convening authority discretion regarding court-martial findings and sentence. Mandatory discharge or dismissal for certain sex-related offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and trial of such offenses by general courtsmartial. Elimination of five-year statute of limitations on trial by court-martial for additional offenses involving sex-related crimes. Consideration of need for, and authority to provide for, temporary administrative reassignment or removal of a member on active duty who is accused of committing a sexual assault or related offense. Victims' Counsel for victims of sex-related offenses committed by members of the Armed Forces and related provisions. Secretary of Defense report on sentencing reform Secretary of Defense report on role of commanders in military justice process.

S. 548 by Senator Klobuchar and others

Elevates the Disposition Authority for Sexual Assault Cases: This section elevates the disposition authority for sexual assault charges to a more senior officer level (colonels or Navy captains) for non-training commands and to the General level for training commands. Asserts U.S. Policy Regarding the Preferred Disposition of Sexual Assault Charges: This section asserts that it is U.S. policy that sexual assault charges “should” be disposed of by courts martial rather than an alternate disposition method. For any charge that is disposed of by a method other than courts martial, this section requires an explanatory justification to be included in the case file and reviewed by a higher officer within the chain of command. Command Action on Reports of Sexual Assault: Establishes a 24-hour time requirement for commanding officers to act on reports of sexual assault by either referring it to the next highest officer or directly to the relevant office of special investigation. Inclusion and Command Review of Substantiated Sexual Assault Charges in Personnel File: This section requires the inclusion of substantiated complaints of sexual-related offenses, including substantiated sexual harassment offenses, in a servicemembers’ personnel service record. The section also requires commanding officers to review the personnel records of those servicemembers whose records contain substantiated complaints of sexualrelated offenses. Retention of Disposition Records: This section requires the collection and retention (for 50 years) of records on disposition of reports of sexual assault for the purpose of helping to track, analyze, and prevent sexual assault from occurring in the military.

Long-term Retention of Restricted Reports: Revises the FY13 NDAA to require the Secretary of Defense to retain restricted reports of sexual assault for at least 50 years. This removes the language added to the NDAA conference report that would have required that the report be retained only at the request of the filing servicemember.

HR 1593 by Rep. Speier and 122 co-sponsors Improve the prevention of and response to sexual assault in the Armed Forces by establishing a Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Council and an enhanced Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office and by requiring the appointment of a Director of Military Prosecutions for sexual-related offenses committed by a member of the Armed Forces, and for other purposes. HR 1079 by Rep. Speier and co-sponsors Amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice to eliminate the authority of the convening authority to modify the findings and sentence of a court-martial as a matter of command prerogative involving the sole discretion of the convening authority. HR 430 by Rep. Speier and co-sponsors Amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice to protect new members of the Armed Forces who are undergoing basic training from the sexual advances of the members of the Armed Forces responsible for their instruction. Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel (as established in NDAA 13) Information: DoD is soliciting comment on an interim final rule on the SAPR Program Procedures with an emphasis on changes to reporting. The deadline for comments is June 10: DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response annual reports: To find additional information on these legislative proposals including text and current lists of co-sponsors, visit:

Contact  Terri  Poore,  Policy  Consultant  at  (850)  228-­‐3428  or

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful