U.S.

July 25, 2013

Commanders should retain prosecution authority, leaders say

Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON – The nation’s top military leaders told senators today that commanders should retain responsibility for prosecuting service members accused of sexual assault.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that taking that authority away could harm good order and discipline.

Dempsey and Winnefeld are under Senate consideration for second two-year terms in their posts.

Keeping commanders in the process ensures there is an active deterrent to the crime, Winnefeld said. “Somebody who is contemplating a sexual assault knows that they’re going to be caught, that they’re going to be prosecuted, and if they’re prosecuted, they’re going to be punished,” he said. “It’s our strong view that the commander is responsible for that.”

Dempsey told the senators that Army officials have looked at the numbers on sexual assault prosecutions over the past two years and found 35 cases in which civilian district attorneys refused to take sexual assault cases to court.

“And the chain of command in the military insisted that the case be taken inside the military chain of command,” he said.

Of those cases, 25 resulted in a court-martial conviction.

“That’s a 71 percent conviction rate,” the chairman said. The civilian rate is between 18 and 22 percent.

Dempsey stressed that this was done because commanders insisted on taking these cases. “I worry that if we turn this over to somebody else, whether it’s a civilian DA or an entity in the military, that they’re going to make the same kind of decisions that those civilian prosecutors make,” he said.

Commanders must be responsible for ensuring the command climate does not tolerate sexual assault in any manner, Winnefeld said.

“It’s about teaching people what a heinous crime this is,” he added. “It’s about reporting it if you see it. It’s about intervening if you see it about to happen — a whole host of measures that commanders must take to establish the climate inside their commands.”

The Marine Corps also had examples similar to the Army, the admiral said. The Marine Corps went back to 2010 and found 28 cases in which civilian prosecutors declined to take the case.

“Of those, 16 of them, the Marine Corps was able to obtain a conviction of court-martial — 57 percent,” Winnefeld said. “So those are 16 perpetrators that are no longer walking the street and 16 victims who received justice who would not have received it otherwise.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
IronMan_pict

Special Operations develops ‘Iron Man’ Suit

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit is cool. But it’s not real. The Tactical Assault Light Operators Suit is cool, too. But it is real and may soon be protecting America’s special operations forces...
 
 

Financial responsibility — vital to readiness

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — In the “Band of Brothers” miniseries, there is a line in the movie where the soldiers are told to make sure they sign up for life insurance to ensure their next-of-kin gets $10,000 upon the soldier’s death. While none of us are about to make a combat jump in 1944 to...
 
 

Lessons learned in protecting social media accounts

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — On a Saturday afternoon in late November, I was informed about a political remark that appeared on my Director of Public Affairs Twitter feed. A staff member called to ask if I was aware of the re-tweet. At the time, I was on leave, out of the state, tending to my daughter...
 

 

Adapt, overcome, succeed

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Change is inevitable, especially in today’s Air Force. If you’ve been serving for more than a few years, it’s likely you’ve experienced everything from new physical fitness requirements to the implementation of force management programs. Enlisted performance reports and feedback forms have been altered and changes to the promotion system are...
 
 

Living in the New Normal

The Military Child Education Coalition, or MCEC, will be hosting Living in the New Normal Institute, Feb. 4-5. LINN-I is a free two-day institute outlining specific community resources, deployment information and practical strategies for encouraging resilience in all children. Some learning outcomes to expect from the training are differentiating affective aspects of children dealing with...
 
 
Training_pict4

Air Force, Army conduct joint service training

U.S. Air Force and Arizona Army National Guard units conducted joint training at a southern Arizona military training range Jan. 20. A-10C Thunderbolt IIs from the 354th Fighter Squadron, based out of D-M, and a UH-60A Black Ha...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin