WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), made the following statement regarding the issue of sexual assault legislation that was raised in today's nomination hearing for the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
"Sexual assault in the military is a significant and serious issue that needs to be addressed. It is imperative that the Armed Services and Congress put every effort forward to provide a healthy environment where men and women can serve together in this all-volunteer force. I applaud my colleagues on the Committee who have approached this issue in a serious and objective manner by carefully evaluating the views of service commanders, JAG officers, and those who have been victims. It is important that the members of the committee fully understand the pros and cons, and the potential unintended consequences of the policies we consider.
“Our nation entrusts military commanders with the awesome responsibility to send our sons and daughters to war. That’s why it is absurd that some would suggest we can’t trust our military commanders when it comes to making decisions about UCMJ offenses. I believe it's imperative that we give thorough review to how these changes could impact commanders’ effectiveness as leaders. Furthermore, we must consider whether it is worthcompletely undermining the entire military justice system based on nothing but the unproven notion that removing the authority of commanders to dispose ofoffenses might encourage more victims of sexual assault to report the crime. I will not tolerate sexual assault in the ranks of our armed forces. But Senator Gillibrand’s proposal to strip commanders of the authority to deal with this problem will only become a detriment to bringing swift and appropriate punishment for such dishonorable behavior."