U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) today praised the passage of the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the mechanism to provide necessary authorities and funding for America's military, and lauded the inclusion a number of key provisions to help combat sexual assault in the military.
"This is the fifty-second consecutive NDAA and meets our goal of providing for a strong defense in an era of uncertain and declining resources," said Davis. "I'm also pleased that a number of provisions included in the legislation will help us combat sexual assault in the military. As the father of a 16 year old daughter, I believe we must root out the culture that has led to these unacceptable instances of sexual assault."
Among the provisions in the NDAA to address sexual assault in the military are protections for those that report sexual misconduct and mandatory sentencing requirements. It also enhances the rights of victims by providing them special counsel and resources in dealing with sexual assault.
Additionally, the legislation:
- Reforms the Uniform Code of Military Justice to eliminate the authority of commanders to dismiss a conviction by a court martial -- commanders have held this power since the earliest days of the military.
- Requires that victims' counsels provide legal assistance to the victims of sex-related offenses.
- Allows victims of sexual assault to apply for a permanent change of station or unit transfer.
- Mandates the processing for administrative separation of any service member guilty of an inappropriate and prohibited relationship.
Also included in the NDAA is language from legislation co-sponsored by Davis, H.R. 1864, to extend whistleblower protections to victims of military sexual violence and protect whistleblowers from retaliation from within their ranks if they report sexual misconduct.
"In 2012 alone more than 26,000 men and women in our military were victims of sexual assault, yet only a fraction of those victims actually filed a report," said Davis. "I am pleased that Congress has responded quickly to protect and support victims of military sexual assault."
The bill passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 315-107 on Friday, June 14th.