Transcript for NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Makes Strong Case for New Military Sexual Assault Bill
To president the senator from New York. I want to thank chairman Levin for his extraordinary leadership on combating sexual assault military. He has led a process over the last year to ensure. That are based bill has a set of this -- reforms that make a huge difference in how cases that are actually reported are handled. And in fact the reforms -- chairman Levin has put full word and our colleagues are continuing to for facts. Do you make the handling of the cases that are reported better they make sure that every victim that report has the victim's advocate to help. Him or -- -- through the process. They also make sure that if that victim is so lucky enough to get that conviction. That can't be overturned by commander. On a second level revealed they also make sure that we had better record keeping they make sure that that rules of evidence to better they make sure that victims are protected throughout the process and -- most importantly. We as -- committee have put forward in the bill a law that make sure retaliation. Is now a crime. Those reforms -- The victims to our strong enough and able enough and have a command climate that is strong enough to report their cases. But one thing the chairman said that is not true. Commanders do not -- this legal rights to be able to set the -- climate. In fact most commanders will never have this legal rights. Just looking at -- ranking second -- -- Able command sixteen to 44 soldiers they do not have convening authority first lieutenant man under -- hunt 40s40 person now. Do not have this authority captives 6290. Filters do not have this authority majors lieutenant colonels. Lieutenant colonels who typically command battalion -- unit 300 without -- -- do not have some people might. Most. Owners will ever get to look at a case file and say aren't going to -- I -- meet. The ability to decide if something goes to court martial is necessary. To sex and disciplined everything correct all of and it. All to good order and discipline as part. Of the -- just can't -- it doesn't happen. They had just command climate -- -- feels comfortable enough to come forward in the crime -- now since that time is not we tell. He -- against it's their job whether they ever have this right. Commanders can do this and must do this without legal right it does not weaken their ability to have one got up here. In the army. Where's the act the management carnal most of the public. He will make it legal decision and he is not a he is not trade he does not know the -- an album of prosecutorial discretion. He may be biased he -- -- the arbitrator more than the victim. Does not make this decision any shouldn't be judged. I have tough -- -- crying. He should even be -- after he weighed the evidence if he does his job properly. He should weigh the evidence do you really. You can only do that -- objective and that's why do you want. -- -- -- military prosecutors outside the chain of command. Those commanders every single one of them should be judged on what the command climate it is. And most of them will never get to a legal evidence as part of that. -- -- My colleague has said -- never heard of examples where commanders didn't go forward but later did. I talked about 1 this morning. We heard from many victims in fact one victims. And -- commander was changed and the new commander had that I -- in command for four day. And he decided that the trial not political or actually it's discontinued the trial. You know -- that ticker. You -- just wasn't a crime. He may not have been a gentleman. So. Mr. President. I do not believe this legal rights undermined our military system I believe it strengthens our military system. I believe it. Gives commanders the -- to do their job fighting and winning wars -- men and women. Commanders are entirely on the hook by air -- legislation that will be -- -- command climate. They'll be -- some there's retaliation. They'll be able to prosecute retaliation -- crimes. I believed if you create transparency and accountability in the system. We will be -- would have many more cases. He reported first of -- more of those 23000 cases will be reported. When you have more at 23000 cases -- reported you will have more investigations. You will therefore have more trials will therefore have more convictions. If you are ever going to change the culture. You need to do it by showing there's accountability. You need to show up by selling there's justice you need to show up by showing justice can be done. We need -- active involvement -- commanders. Isn't never gonna happen if we don't so they need to start focusing on retaliation they need to start focusing -- command climate they need to make sure these rates aren't happening. And they won't do that whether or not they ever have the legal right. -- our allies changed their lives. To elevate all serious crimes the chain of command. They didn't see if falling apart of their military they -- see good order and discipline going out the window. It -- see any change it all back. I know our military can do the same I know our military to build -- transparent accountable. System. Their response to a victims had asked they want to be able to have the decision maker heat outside their chain of command if we do that's. We have a chance of building -- criminal justice system within our military. That is good. And -- jobs. As our men and women deserve. -- -- -- Mr. President suggests yes -- of. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- The senator from the orchestra and -- a form called initiated. An objection so ordered. I happy -- consent request that major -- Challenge it in the air force currently serving in defense ballots Saturday -- office granted privileges of the -- during consideration of asked 1197. National defense authorization act fiscal year 2014. Objection disorder. I also have a statement for the record I'd like to enter. Which response to some of the tech opens concerns -- our colleagues had about filed amendment. We actually made significant changes to address this tech concerns and I have a full analysis of description of them like to hear in the record. Your objection. Disorder. I suggest absence of the court. For all the world is using.
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