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.


 
 

 

One AWACS lands at D-M for Boneyard Storage

One NATO E-3A AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) departed NATO Air Base Geilenkirchen, Germany and landed around 1 p.m. June 23, for storage in the ‘Boneyard’. This is the first ever NATO AWACS to be retired. The decision to retire one E-3A was made by the North Atlantic Council in an effort to modernize the...
 
 
(Courtesy photo)

Monsoon season blows in storms, rain, dust

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, ARIZONA — Arizona is known for being sunny with clear skies for the majority of the year, but every year “it” happens. As the clouds roll in, the sky darkens with thunderbolts streaming overhead...
 
 

AF releases vision for development of autonomous systems

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Air Force released a vision document June 22 written by its former chief scientist which helps define a path to increased and effective autonomy. Autonomous Horizons, authored by Dr. Mica Endsley, provides direction and guidance on the opportunities and challenges in the development of autonomous systems for Air Force operations, and...
 

 

OPM to notify employees of cybersecurity incident

  WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has identified a cybersecurity incident potentially affecting personnel data for current and former federal employees, including personally identifiable information (PII). Within the last year, the OPM has undertaken an aggressive effort to update its cybersecurity posture, adding numerous tools and capabilities to it...
 
 

Commissaries serve as Feds Feed Families collection sites

  FORT LEE, Va. (AFNS) — Commissaries are serving as collection points for the Feds Feed Families campaign, which began June 1 and ends Aug. 31 at participating stateside military installations. During the campaign, participating installations help collect items most needed by food pantries and then donate them to area food banks. “This marks our...
 
 

Air University announces plans for a Cyber College

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. — During a recent speech at the City of Montgomery (Alabama) Kiwanis Club, Air University Commander Lt. Gen. Steven L. Kwast announced plans for an Air Force Cyber College. After thanking the Montgomery community for their support of Maxwell Air Force Base, June 2, Kwast detailed Air University’s plans to...
 




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=""> <s> <strike> <strong>