Congress Passes Military Budget Bill, Amendment Addresses Sexual Assault
An amendment to the budget bill requires a report on the fixes recommended by Air Force commanders who investigated sexual assault in their branch of the military last year.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, San Antonio Congressman Joaquín Castro asked for a General Accountability Office (GAO) report on the 45 initiatives recommended by last year’s command-directed investigation.
Castro told the House before the vote that it is critical to ensure those measures would have a real effect on the problem.
"The sexual misconduct by military training instructors at Lackland has been one of the largest sexual misconduct scandals and investigations within the military," Castro said.
Castro extended the amendment to add another level of reporting and to examine the feasibility of expanding the Air Force initiatives to all branches of the military.
"Similar stories have also surfaced from the academies, to forward operating bases, and now in the Pentagon," he said.
The GAO report is due by April 1, 2014. After that, Castro will work with the Armed Services Committee to determine whether the other branches should be required to adopt the initiatives.
The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, also directs the Department of Defense to brief Congress on excess military infrastructure overseas, encourages trauma research, and continues investments in education on military bases.