TAKE ACTION: Urge the Senate to pass S. 1752, the Military Justice Improvement Act. Your email message could make the critical difference. Seven more senators are needed to meet the 60 vote threshold to overcome a filibuster challenge.

Here are the names of senators who should receive special attention; most have not yet announced their position on the Military Justice Improvement Act: Sheldon Whitehouse (R. I.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Mike Lee (Utah), Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Jerry Moran (Kans.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Patrick Toomey (Pa.), Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (Va.).


Background

Senate Vote Soon - Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) bill, the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act (S. 1752), that would establish an independent, objective and unbiased military justice process to better respond to the epidemic of sexual assault in the U.S. military.

Sexual Assault Incidents Increase - Military leaders have been claiming since 1992 that there will be “zero tolerance” of sexual assault, yet incidents of rape, sexual assault and unwanted touching rose by 35 percent in every branch over a two year period. Of the 26,000 incidents estimated for FY 2012, only 3,374 sexual assaults were officially reported. Just 302 cases were prosecuted, with only 238 leading to convictions. Survivors – both women and men – say that they fear retaliation and do not believe that their complaints will be taken seriously.

Independent, Trained Prosecutors Needed - It is clear that the current system of military “justice” does not work and must be changed. Survivors deserve prosecutors who specialize in these crimes and are independent from chain of command constraints. Our major allies -- Great Britain, Canada, Australia and Israel and others -- years ago moved disposition of sexual assault crimes out of the chain of command to be handled independently by trained prosecutors. The U.S. needs to do the same.