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Public Statements

Military Justice Improvement Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. REID. Mr. President, when American men and women decide to defend our freedoms as members of the U.S. Armed Forces, they do so with full knowledge that they could make the ultimate sacrifice--the ultimate sacrifice--on behalf of our county. These are very courageous men and women. While we can't protect every member of our military from harm at the hands of America's enemies, we should at least guarantee them protection from harm at the hands of their fellow servicemembers.

The need to address the problem of sexual assault is not lost on the military officers and officials with whom I have met. They acknowledge there is a problem. I believe they are working in good faith to fix it.

The vast majority of U.S. military personnel are appalled by sexual assault in their ranks, as are their commanders. I applaud their dedication to this Nation and their fellow servicemembers. I applaud the action of those who have zero tolerance for these crimes, but I am convinced that Congress must act aggressively to eliminate a military culture that not only allows sexual assault to happen but too often punishes the victims when it does.

We have already taken some action to combat the sexual assault in the Defense authorization bill. I am pleased today we will vote on two proposals for further action.

Congress cannot stand idly by while the blight of sexual assault continues. Every military leader has the responsibility to take a stand with us for a zero tolerance approach to military sexual assault, to stand by the victims of sexual assault, and to stand with the good men and women they command.


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