U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) this afternoon applauded Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's decision to seek changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) which will help ensure justice for sexual assault victims. The news comes a month after Shaheen and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) called on Hagel to review the military justice system in light of the unilateral dismissal of the sexual assault conviction of Lieutenant Colonel James Wilkerson after he was initially convicted by a jury of his peers. Shaheen and Boxer specifically called on Hagel to "to take immediate steps to restrict Convening Authorities from unilaterally dismissing military court decisions."
"I am encouraged Secretary Hagel has acknowledged the need to reform the military justice system and has reaffirmed his commitment to ending sexual assault in the military," Shaheen said. "Secretary Hagel's response to recommendations put forth by myself and Senator Boxer is obviously welcome news but also underscores how much more work remains ahead of us. We have an obligation to do everything in our power to bring offenders to justice and I'm committed to accomplishing that goal. I look forward to working with the Pentagon to implement much needed legislative reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and to address sexual assault in the military."