Military Discipline in Danger

The concept of good order and discipline in the military ranks is under attack from a curious enemy - the status quo.

Yesterday, Sen. Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in effect rejected proposals that would have removed decisions regarding prosecution of sexual assaults and related crimes from the chain of command. The most sweeping proposal to address the epidemic of sex crimes in the military had been put forward by New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand. Sen. Gillibrand's proposal would have given prosecutorial discretion in such cases not to a court-martial convening authority in the chain of command, but to relatively independent military prosecutors. The proposal would also have ended the convening authority's power to reverse convictions found by a court-martial, leaving an appeal path to the US Court of Military Appeals (a special US Circuit Court of Appeals), via a Court of Military Review.

Today is the day to call Kay Hagan and Richard Burr, and urge them to not allow the status quo to undermine good order and discipline in the ranks, and continue to land mine the pursuit of justice for victims of these crimes in our ranks.

Comments

This is important to North Carolina!

If we want to maintain our status as a military-friendly state, we need to urge our elected representatives to look out for the interests of those who serve in uniform.

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The measure of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. - FDR

Unfortunately, based on the years of data available,

the military chain of command has systematically refused to handle the issue in anything approaching a satisfactory manner. It's being taken out of the chain of command because it isn't being addressed. Far from being a "landmine" in the path of those who have been victimized -- first by an abuser and second by the system that protects the abuser -- it is a way for a victim to hopefully achieve some measure of justice.

It is not dissimilar to a similar proposal being made regarding the Catholic Church which would require clergy and Church officials to report abuses to the police and not to a senior official. In both instances, the system had ample opportunities to handle the issue, and buried it instead.

I understand your point. My family has many, many members who have served (and continue to serve) honorably in the military, and we honor the service. But that respect for the military does not blind me to the facts as they stand. The chain of command has not handled the issue of sexual abuse in the ranks, nor is there any evidence that it will begin to do so if given yet another opportunity. It is time to try another remedy.