Nominees for Air Force Secretary and Defense Under Secretary, Both Women, Endorse Historic Reforms…


Nominees for Air Force Secretary and Defense UnderSecretary, Both Women, Endorse Historic Reforms to Combat Sexual Assaults inthe Military

Under questioning by McCaskill, nominees support hostof reforms approved by Armed Services Committee

WASHINGTON – While Washington’s attention turnstoward a possible federal government shutdown, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskilltoday continued her dogged pursuit of historic reforms designed to combatsexual assaults in the military during an Armed Services Committee hearing.

McCaskill hashelped shape the reforms under consideration, and has also warned about therisks of an alternative proposal that would completely strip commanders oftheir responsibilities in the process of sexual assault courts-martial–a movethat McCaskill has warned would potentially increase the risk of retaliationagainst survivors who report crimes.

“Is there anything about a lawyer making a decision to goforward, that would provide an extra level of protection–as opposed to acommander?” McCaskill asked Deborah Lee James, the first woman ever nominatedfor Secretary of the Air Force.

“I personally don’t think so,” responded James.

McCaskill largelyfocused her questions on James and Jessica Wright, nominee for Under Secretaryof Defense for Personnel and Readiness, who would both play a key role inimplementing many of McCaskill’s reforms.

“The commander has to be held accountable for what happensunder their command,” said Wright.

The hearing also considered the nominations of Marcel J.Lettre for Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence; KevinA. Ohlson for Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces;Frank G. Klotz for Under Secretary for NuclearSecurity.

McCaskill has relentlesslyfought to combat sexual assaults in the military. The Senate Armed Services Committee recentlygave unanimous approval to a series of aggressive, historic reformsaddressing sexual assault, including bipartisan, bicameralprovisions by McCaskill that will significantly boost accountability forperpetrators and protections for survivors.

Click HEREto read the recent opinion column by McCaskill and U.S. RepresentativeLoretta Sanchez, a sexual assault survivor.

Read more about McCaskill’s fight to stem sexual assaults in the military at