WASHINGTON, D.C. – Thursday, the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus hosted a briefing with the Director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), Major General Jeffrey J. Snow, on the Department of Defense’s efforts to implement the changes mandated by Congress in the past three Defense Authorization Acts as well as the Department of Defense’s own internal efforts to prevent sexual assault.
Following the briefing, Co-Chairs Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA) and Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH) released the following statement:
“Historic reforms have been enacted in recent years to combat and prevent sexual assault in the military and we thank Major General Snow and others for speaking to the Caucus this afternoon to discuss their implementation.
“Some of the most significant steps forward on this issue were signed into law as part of the 2014 NDAA, which made unprecedented changes to commander authority by removing the ability to overturn a jury verdict, while also mandating a dishonorable discharge for those convicted of sexual assault. Also, ensuring that every military victim of sexual assault gets an attorney.
“The Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus exists to bring awareness, education and discussion on these crimes into a bipartisan forum. We were heartened to see such a large attendance at today’s briefing and we were encouraged by some of the information revealed today, such as the growing number of reports that have been changed from restricted to unrestricted status.
“However, those of us in Congress who have steadily pursued progress on this issue will continue in our oversight capacity and hold the DOD accountable.
“In order to fully address these crimes, we must work to transform the culture of the armed services, a change that must take place at all ranks, from the top down. This is a multifaceted challenge and we will continue to pursue meaningful and substantial reform aimed at eradicating these crimes from our armed forces.”