Key U.S. Senators began an investigation of how the military handles sexual assault and domestic violence. The probe began yesterday, the day after a three-day series ended in the Denver Post that detailed flaws in the armed forces’ justice system and victim services.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner called the Post’s findings troubling and asked a subcommittee dealing with military personnel issues to look into problems. “They’re quite disturbing, and now they’re pervasive throughout all branches,” said Warner.
The Post quoted Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., as saying that the subcommittee probably would ask the Pentagon for a detailed response to The Post’s findings, then convene hearings next year.
Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army’s chief of staff, defended the Uniform Code of Military Justice code during the hearing. “Every time the UCMJ is looked at, it is held up as an extraordinary example of a system, and it has been looked at many times,” Schoomaker said.
“When was the last time it was reviewed?” Allard asked. “I’ll have to get back to you for the record,” the general said. “It’s actually in relatively modern times.”
In fact, despite numerous calls for reforming the military system, no sweeping review of the code has been undertaken by Congress or the Defense Department in more than two decades.