WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bipartisan group of Senators, led by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), today urged the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senators Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and John McCain (R-Arizona), to retain a number of bipartisan amendments to the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that seek to combat sexual assault in the military as the legislation heads to conference, including three amendments authored by Senator Klobuchar. Joined by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-New York), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), the Senators noted their strong support for the measures as violence in the military continues to occur at an alarming rate.

In a joint letter, the Senators wrote:

“As work continues on the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act, we write to urge you to retain several important, bipartisan amendments that were incorporated into the Senate passed bill. These common-sense amendments were agreed to with the overwhelming support of the Senate.  Ensuring that these important pieces of legislation now become public law will represent a meaningful step towards protecting America’s service members from the threat of sexual assault.”

A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

The amendments the Senators seek to retain in the conference report for the NDAA for Fiscal Year 2013 are:

  • Sec.544, sponsored by Senator Klobuchar, to require that DOD retain Restricted Reports on sexual assaults involving members of the Armed Forces for a minimum of 50 years. This will ensure that all veterans have long-term, private access to their medical forensic examination records for the purpose of filing VA disability claims.
  • Sec.545, sponsored by Senator Klobuchar, to require DOD to establish a policy on prevention and response to sexual harassment, and requiring the collection of records on sexual harassment.
  • Sec.546, sponsored by Senator Klobuchar, to expand annual reports on sexual assaults involving members of the Armed Forces to collect critical data for identifying future pathways for preventing sexual assault in the military. This provision also requires the Department to provide greater analysis on trends in the occurrence of sexual assault in the military, links between sexual assault and substance-abuse and sexual harassment, and improvements the Department asserts are needed to its own sexual assault programs.
  • Sec.527, sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California), to prohibit DOD from allowing any individual who has been convicted of a sexual offense to join the military.
  • Sec.542, sponsored by Senator Gillibrand, to require that any service member who is convicted of a sexual offense be processed for administrative separation from the Armed Forces.