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Smith on Sexual Assault in the Military: Serious Action is Overdue, Time to Act is Now

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, today issued the following statement after Representatives Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Mike Turner (R-Ohio) introduced the Vanessa Guillén Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act.
 
“After trying, and failing, to address sexual assault in the military for years, the time has come to take the prosecution of sexual assault crimes out of the chain of command. There is broad support for this idea in Congress, the Department of Defense, and the Biden-Harris administration, and momentum continues to build. This bipartisan and bicameral consensus means the question before us is not whether to update the UCMJ, but how to update the UCMJ. 
 
“Two solutions have been proposed: removing all felony-like crimes from the chain of command, or removing all crimes relating to sexual assault from the chain of command. There will be much debate about this differentiation, and I welcome that debate so that we can identify the best possible policy solution for our service members, but the bottom line remains the same: Significant action is required and the time to act is now. 
 
“As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, I intend to give this issue the attention it deserves – that means marking up pertinent legislation like the Vanessa Guillén Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act. This issue is far too important to risk failure, which is why I will aggressively pursue every legislative option available.” 
 

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