Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement reacting to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement of several initiatives to combat sexual assault in the military:
"The initiatives announced by Secretary Hagel are a positive and necessary step forward to strengthen commander accountability, command climate, and victim advocacy and safety. However, they are not sufficient. With all due respect to our military leadership structure, as long as the traditional chain of command remains the only path to justice, sexual assault victims risk not being well-served.
"During consideration of the National Defense Authorization bill for Fiscal Year 2014, House Democrats offered a possible compromise that would have given sexual assault victims the option of pursuing charges outside the chain of command or staying within it. As Congress continues consideration of legislative proposals to deal with sexual assault in the military, careful consideration must be given to this and other proposals designed to ensure victims' rights are protected and justice is served."