U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) today successfully had an overwhelming number of her legislative priorities to combat sexual assault in the military incorporated in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20).
As the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee considered the FY20 NDAA, McSally outlined 18 provisions to stop sexual assault in the military, a culmination of months of her work meeting with military leaders, base commanders, military sexual assault victims and the creation of the Sexual Assault Accountability and Investigation Task Force, formed by McSally’s request. All but one provision was included in the final bill text.
“There is no place for sexual assault in our military or our society,” said McSally. “As a commander in the U.S. Air Force and a survivor of military sexual assault, I bring a unique perspective to Congress. For the last four months, I have heard from top-ranking Pentagon officials to survivors to men and women currently serving in the military—all who are seeking change in how sexual assault is dealt with in the military. These reforms represent the voices of many who do not have the opportunity to change the system. I am proud to speak on their behalf and see my legislative initiatives included in the FY20 NDAA and look forward to consideration of the bill on the Senate floor.”
McSally secured the following provisions in the NDAA:
Prevention and Training:
Background on McSally’s work to combat sexual assault in the military:
On May 15, McSally introduced the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act, landmark legislation to combat military sexual assault. The legislation focuses on improvements to the investigation and judicial process, as well as victim support once an assault has been reported.
On May 9, McSally met with Air Force leadership at Andrew Air Force Base to dig into the improvements that McSally is proposing.
On May 7, McSally convened a meeting of the nation’s top military leaders to discuss the recommendations and path forward on combating sexual assault. This meeting followed the delivery of the task force report that was a direct result of McSally’s request to the Acting Secretary of Defense.
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 assaultand sexual harassment at colleges, universities, and service academies nationwide.
On March 28, McSally met with the Sexual Assault Accountability and Investigation Task Force to discuss her vision for the task force. This task force was formed at McSally’s request. 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 assaultin 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.