U.S. SENATE – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Martha McSally convened a meeting of the nation’s top military leaders to discuss the recommendations and path forward on combating sexual assault. This meeting follows the delivery of the task force report last week that was a direct result of McSally’s request to the Acting Secretary of Defense.

The meeting was attended by Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford, Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley, Secretary of the Army Mark Esper, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness James Stewart, Executive Director of the Office of Force Resiliency Dr. Elizabeth Van Winkle.

During the meeting, McSally was briefed on the conclusions reached by the task force and the necessary changes in order to improve the investigation and judicial process as well as victim support once an assault has been reported.  The conversation focused on how to improve the timeliness of the process from the time an assault is reported to when the case is closed. Timeliness was a reoccurring theme throughout McSally’s visits to the military bases in Arizona.

In the coming days, McSally will be introducing legislation to codify some of the task force recommendations in addition to other changes that McSally believes are necessary to get care to the victim, streamline the investigative process, and keep commanders in the process.

“During our hour-long meeting at the Pentagon, we dug into the task force report on sexual assault with the expressed mission to improve the investigative and judicial process,” McSally said. “You could see the commitment from senior Defense Department leadership to work with me to codify necessary improvements to tackle sexual assault in addition to hearing from the task force on what they can do in the immediate future. This is a readiness issue that is personal and must be taken seriously. I appreciate the leadership of Acting Secretary Shanahan, and the service secretaries and chiefs for their commitment to take quick action on tackling sexual assault.”

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(DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

download (3).jpeg(DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

download (4).jpeg(DoD photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

On May 2, the Defense Department released their recommendations from the task force that was formed as a direct request of McSally. 

On April 26, McSally visited Ft. Huachuca and Davis-Monthan to meet with soldiers and airmen to hear firsthand their ideas on ending sexual assault in the military.


On April 17, McSally visited Marine Corps Air Station Yuma to hear their perspective on how to address sexual assault in the military.


On April 4, McSally delivered the keynote address at the U.S. Naval Academy at a discussion about sexual assault and sexual harassment at colleges, universities, and service academies nationwide.


On March 28, McSally met with the SAAITF to discuss her vision for the task force. The meeting was attended by the Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense as well as representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Judge Advocates General, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Office of the Inspector General, Office of Force Resiliency, and the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Office.


On March 21, McSally visited Luke Air Force Base where she met with commanders and held a meet-on-greet with airmen for a discussion on tackling sexual assault.


On March 18, McSally requested the immediate formation of a Department of Defense task force to combat sexual assault. Just a day later, Shanahan committed to standing up the task force at McSally’s request. 


On March 14, during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Department of Defense budget posture, McSally received a commitment from Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford to work with her to combat sexual assault in the military.


On March 13, McSally called for an executive summit within the next 30 days to tackle the issue of sexual assault in the Air Force.


On March 6, McSally disclosed that she was a survivor of military sexual assault and sought to combat sexual assault in the military while keeping sexual assault cases under the commander.


Additional photos are available HERE.