Buck McKeon Forced To Hold Public Hearings On Lackland Rapes
|Buck McKeon whines that it's "uncomfortable" to talk about rape in the military. Victims tell him it's far more uncomfortable to be raped!|
“We have indentified 59 victims,” General Edward Rice, USAF Air Education and Training Command told members of the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday morning who were conducting a hearing at the Rayburn Office Building into the Lackland Air Force Base sexual assault scandal.
Following a nine month investigation involving 550 investigators and 7,700 surveys, USAF Chief of Staff, General Mark A. Welsh III, testified that out of 46 recommended changes 45 would be instituted to prevent sexual assaults from happening in the future. Only 23 have been put into place so far and the other 22 are expected in November, according to Welsh.
The 46 recommendations could either be viewed as encouraging (so much is being done) or horrifying (so much has to be done).
However, for Congresswoman Jackie Speier, (CA-14) the number that should really stand out is “one.”
As in, not one of the 59 victims was allowed to testify at the hearing.
As in, not one of the 59 victims was consulted when crafting the 46 recommendations.
“How could any of those recommendations be complete without first having talked to at least some of the victims?” asked Speier.. She went on to admonish Gen. Rice for not even responding to a November 16, 2012 letter she written to him asking for the victims to be interviewed.
Currently, 32 Military Training Instructors have been or continue to be under investigation for sexual misconduct.
“We have completed disciplinary action for sexual misconduct against eight, we have preferred court martial charges against another nine and 15 other instructors are under investigation,” said Rice.
Rice then touted a lack of reported sexual misconduct related to training in the last seven months as a result of focus on the issue and went on to say that sustaining that focus will derive from the establishment of the Recruiting, Education and Training Oversight Council.
TSgt Jennifer Norris, USAF (ret), a Protect Our Defenders, Advocacy Board Member and a survivor of sexual assault in the military testified that civilian, not military oversight is needed.
“The cycle of repeated scandals, self investigations, and ineffective reforms must be broken,” said Norris. “Retired Brigadier General Lori Sutton recently said ‘The only credible solution is an independent special victims unit completely outside the unit chain of command under professional civilian oversight’ and I agree.”
Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53) stated her reluctance to take control from the chain of command.
“For us to pull this out in someway says that we don’t believe our officers are capable of handling this issue,” said Davis.
While Davis has her doubts about which way to proceed, there can be little doubt about how seriously Buck McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, is taking the issue of sexual assaults in the military.
He didn’t even return after recess to hear the testimony of Norris.
UPDATE: Here's What McKeon Boycotted At His Own Committee's Hearing