Military Sex Abuse And The Chain Of Command

Solving the U.S. military’s sex abuse problem. We look at the chain of command issue and what needs to change

Senate subcommittee on Personnel Chair Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., right, greets members of the third panel before the subcommittee's hearing on sexual assault in the military. (AP)

Senate subcommittee on Personnel Chair Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., right, greets members of the third panel before the subcommittee’s hearing on sexual assault in the military. (AP)

One bad headline after another on sexual assault in the U.S. military lately.

Bad numbers.  Big growth.  Bad reports of military figures who have been key in preventing sexual assault  — themselves in trouble.  Attacking.  Pimping, for heaven’s sake, we heard last week.

Everybody’s in an uproar about it.  But we’ve been there before.  What do we actually do about it?

New legislation would take responsibility for dealing with sexual assault out of the chain of command.  The holy of holies in the military. Is that a good idea?  Is it time?

Up next On Point: U.S. military sexual assault and the chain of command.

– Tom Ashbrook


David Martin, national security correspondent for CBS News.

Elizabeth Hillman, professor of law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and former professor of history at the U.S. Air Force Academy. She currently serves on a panel appointed by Congress to make recommendations on military sexual assault.

John Altenburg, retired Major General in the U.S. Army, where he served as a Green Beret and an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. He served 28 years as a lawyer in the Army, where he represented the Army before Congress, state and local governments, and in court in the United States and Germany.

From Tom’s Reading List

CBS News: Military cracks down on rampant sexual abuse — “After a flood of sexual abuse cases in the military, President Obama summoned the nation’s military leadership to the White House Thursday. Before the meeting, Gen. Ray Odierno, the army chief of staff, admitted all efforts to stop the abuse have failed. In a classic Washington photo op, the commander-in-chief called in the top uniformed and civilian leaders of the military to order a crack down on sexual assault.”

Time Magazine: The Roots of Sexual Abuse in the Military – “Even before the Army confirmed a third military sexual-assault preventer had been implicated in sexual harassment in the past two weeks late Thursday – the charges ranged from sexual battery, to pandering, to stalking an ex-wife – the Army’s top general, and the commander-in chief, said they’ve had enough.”

The Hill: Gillibrand bill targets chain of command in sex assault cases — “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and a dozen other lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday to remove sexual assault cases from the military’s chain of command. The bill would represent a major shake-up of the military’s centuries-old judicial code by removing the decision to prosecute felony-type cases from military commanders.”

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