Military deserves ‘scrutiny’ on sexual assaults, General Dempsey says

BY Larisa Epatko  March 7, 2014 at 3:36 PM EST

Even though a bill changing the way the military would handle sexual assault cases failed in the Senate, it showed a lack of confidence in the military to solve the problem, as the president directed, said Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey on Friday.

“The president of the United States said to us in December, you know what, you’ve got about a year to review this thing and show me you can make a difference,” said Dempsey. “If we haven’t been able to demonstrate we’re making a difference, you know, then we deserve to be held to the scrutiny and standard.”

His comments came in an interview with PBS NewsHour co-anchor Judy Woodruff, airing Friday.

The Senate voted 55-45 on Thursday to block the bill from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., that would remove sexual assault prosecutorial decisions from military commanders.  An alternative from Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., that would require a civilian review if there were a disagreement over litigating a sexual assault case, advanced instead.

“We understand that … just because Senator Gillibrand’s vote was defeated yesterday doesn’t mean that a year from now it may not be reintroduced,” Dempsey said.

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