U.S. Senator Mark Begich is welcoming news that the federal National Guard Bureau Office of Complex Investigations is conducting an investigation to scrutinize the persistent allegations of sexual assaults, fraud and a hostile environment in the Alaska National Guard.
"It's crucial this federal investigation get to the bottom of these accusations," said Begich. "I agree with comments made by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that sexual assault threatens the trust which is the bedrock of our military. Sexual assault, fraud and a hostile environment have no place in our society or military. These acts irreparably harm our service members and destroy a unit's ability and focus on its mission. Because these allegations continue to surround the Alaska National Guard, we must tackle them head on so they can be resolved once and for all."
Senator Begich also stressed the importance of assuring that the Guard's procedures for addressing the alleged misconduct are effective, fair and transparent. "No organization will be able to stop misconduct if its members are not confident that standards will be enforced in a firm, fair and consistent manner," said Begich. "Either the conduct will go unreported or any sanction will not survive a challenge under our constitutional principle of due process."
Senator Begich has supported legislation to fight sexual assault in the National Guard. Recent efforts include provisions assuring the availability of sexual assault response coordinators for victims in the National Guard and barring retaliation for reporting sexual assault.