NDAA FY 2018

An argument against bringing MJIA to a vote in Congress is that they have been passing pieces of it since 2014 and that these changes need time to take effect. Specifically, they have been passing them in the National Defense Authorization Act for each fiscal year since 2014 (Also known as NDAA). Though if you look at the legislation that was just passed this year, you'll notice that many sections passed are fairly common sense and it is distressing that these have only become law this year. Furthermore, none of these sections address the absolute power of the command which is, in our opinion, the most important part of the Military Justice Improvement Act. 

LEGISLATION PASSED UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP

Our current president has proven very controversial, and his legislation can cause just as much debate. However, his signing passed many things into law for this year, both good and bad. POTUS signed the National Defense Authorization Act on Fiscal Year 2018 after it was voted on and passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

SEC. 521. PUBLIC AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION RELATED TO DISPOSITION OF CLAIMS REGARDING DISCHARGE OR RELEASE OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES WHEN THE CLAIMS INVOLVE SEXUAL ASSAULT.

  • What does it do?  This addition to the United States Code Section 1552 and 1553 under Title 10 makes it so that sexual assault can be listed as part of a former service member’s discharge or release when it contributed to their dismissal from the service.

  • Is it good or bad?  GOOD. Although this seems like a no-brainer, this was not mandatory until this year. Several former service members were discharged because of a sexual assault that they committed was essentially wiped from their record once they left the military. This factor could have been ignored in the hiring process as a civilian, renting or purchasing a home, and even becoming employed as an Uber driver. Military members should be held to the highest standard at all times, and this is one step closer to this.

  • How can we make it better?  Military members who commit a sexual assault should be forced to register as sex offenders in their local community. Local law enforcement should not be left blind to a potential threat to their communities. 

SEC. 533 PUNITIVE ARTICLE UNDER THE UNIFORM CODE OF MILITARY JUSTICE ON WRONGFUL BROADCAST OR DISTRIBUTION OF INTIMATE VISUAL IMAGES OR VISUAL IMAGES OF SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CONDUCT.

​​

  • What does it do?  Lays the groundwork to punish military members who distribute intimate visual images of others without their permission.

  • Is it good or bad?  This is good, especially with all of the recent scandals of servicemen sharing intimate photos of their fellow servicewomen. Sharing intimate photos of service men and women is cruel and doing so without their permission should be a punishable offense.

  • How can we make it better?  Outline potential sentences based on the severity of the crime committed. In other words, mass distribution (i.e. posting publicly on a website) could include jail time or participate in such behavior could result in a bar from reenlistment. After all, the military doesn’t need this kind of soldier in its ranks.

SEC. 534 GARNISHMENT TO SATISFY JUDGMENT RENDERED FOR PHYSICALLY, SEXUALLY, OR EMOTIONALLY ABUSING A CHILD

​​

  • What does it do?  Allows for retirement pay to be garnished from service members who have been found guilty by a court of physically, sexually, or emotionally abusing a child.

  • Is it good or bad?  This is good because soldiers need to be held responsible for abusing children physically or emotionally, but especially sexually.

  • How can we make it better?  The main issue here is going to be enforcement. While this is something that looks great on paper, it will mean nothing if it is not enforced to its fullest extent. Soldiers need to be held responsible for abusing children.

SEC. 535 SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION AND RESPONSE TRAINING FOR ALL INDIVIDUALS ENLISTED IN THE ARMED FORCES UNDER A DELAYED ENTRY PROGRAM

​​

  • What does it do?  Mandates that recruits entering under the delayed entry program complete training in sexual assault prevention and response. This section requires training to be initiated within 180 days (~6 months) of the enactment of this Act, which was 12/12/17, so it should be enacted currently.   

  • Is it good or bad?  This is a start, but it simply does not have the far-reaching effects to consider it ‘good’. Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard are all required to conduct their own monthly training.

  • How can we make it better?  This would be better if all service members were offered such training. One way that this could be done is if the training was enacted for at least an hour per week throughout basic training. We further recommend that soldiers, sailors, and airmen be separated by gender for such training.

SEC. 536 SPECIAL VICTIMS’ COUNSEL TRAINING REGARDING THE UNIQUE CHALLENGES OFTEN FACED BY MALE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

​​

  • What does it do?  Provides special training to the legal counsel afforded to victims of sexual assault, also known as the Special Victims’ Counsel, to be more sensitive to the issues that male survivors of MST face.

  • Is it good or bad?  It is good to acknowledge that women aren’t the only ones facing MST. This not only acknowledges the issue of sexual assault across gender but works to educate those directly involved with male survivors of MST.

  • How can we make it better?  We recommend that the special training not be limited to legal counsel but expanded to include more resources such as the SHARP representatives, liaisons, and especially the victim advocates. These people are involved in the reporting process too, whether it be restricted or unrestricted. As such they have a duty to male MST survivors to treat them with respect and understanding of their unique circumstances.

SEC. 537 INCLUSION OF INFORMATION IN ANNUAL SAPRO REPORTS REGARDING MILITARY SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND INCIDENTS INVOLVING NONCONSENSUAL DISTRIBUTION OF PRIVATE SEXUAL IMAGES

  • What does it do?  This is an amendment to the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011. It mandates that more information be included in the annual SAPRO report including the number of substantiated and unsubstantiated claims of sexual harassment involving intimate photos, as well as a synopsis and action taken in the substantiated cases.  

  • Is it good or bad?  While this looks good on paper, it is bad because it is set to take effect with the reports due on March 1, 2020. This is unacceptable and this information should be included in the report for 2019.

  • How can we make it better?  As stated above, this could be made better simply by moving up the enactment date. This was initiated in response to the Marines United scandal in 2017.

SEC. 538 INCLUSION OF INFORMATION IN ANNUAL SAPRO REPORTS REGARDING SEXUAL ASSAULTS COMMITTED BY A MEMBER OF THE ARMED FORCES AGAINST THE MEMBER’S SPOUSE OR OTHER FAMILY MEMBER

  • What does it do?  This mandates the reporting of sexual assaults committed by a military member against their spouse, intimate partner, or dependent on the SAPRO report to be submitted by March 1, 2019

  • Is it good or bad?  This is a significant improvement over the March 2020 mandate for Sec. 537 above. Although it is disturbing that these especially heinous types of assaults haven’t been included up to this point, this is a good law.

  • How can we make it better?  This can be made better by getting the word out. The average user of social media platforms could share highlights of this report with a link to the publicly available record to raise awareness.

SEC. 707 EXPANSION OF SEXUAL TRAUMA COUNSELING AND TREATMENT FOR MEMBERS OF THE RESERVE COMPONENTS

​​

  • What does it do?  It is an amendment to the US Code: Title 38 - Veterans’ Benefits. Specifically, it replaces “on active duty” with “that was suffered by the member while serving on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training”. This change will allow for members of the reserves to seek assistance for sexual trauma sustained while on duty.

  • Is it good or bad?  This is good because it allows for more service members to have access to care for MST.

  • How can we make it better?  These services could be optimized by expanding them to include spouses, dependents, and even civilians that have been sexually assaulted by a military member.

SEC. 3506 REPORT ON SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM RECOVERY IN THE COAST GUARD

  • What does it do?  Requires the Coast Guard to submit a report on sexual assault prevention and response policies as well as strategic goals related to sexual assault victim recovery to Congress.

  • Is it good or bad?  The best thing about this report is that it must be completed within six months of enactment of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.  

  • How can we make it better?  One way this could be better is to ensure that the report is made available to the public to increase awareness of MST. All branches of the military are suffering from the MST epidemic, and the Coast Guard does not deserve to be ignored in this crisis.

SEC. 3513 PROVISION OF SATELLITE COMMUNICATION DEVICES DURING SEA YEAR PROGRAM

​​

  • What does it do?  Mandates that Coast Guard cadets in the Sea Year program be provided a functional satellite communication device. Furthermore, a cadet may not be denied from using the device if they determine usage is necessary to prevent/report sexual harassment or sexual assault. Cadets are also required to check- in with designated personnel at the academy at least once per week.

  • Is it good or bad?  Good because it creates the opportunity to stop sexual assault and harassment in its tracks.

  • How can we make it better?  Expansion, expansion, expansion. We believe in the potential application of something akin to a panic button for all members of the military, including trainees.

SEC. 3514 ACTIONS TO ADDRESS SEXUAL HARASSMENT, DATING VIOLENCE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, AND STALKING AT THE UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

​​

  • What does it do?  Adds dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking to the current policy laid out in title 46 of the United States Code at the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

  • Is it good or bad?  It is good that the military academy for the Coast Guard is acknowledging the occurrence of dating violence and domestic abuse among the ranks.

  • How can we make it better?  Again, this would be most effective if it was implemented across all branches of the military.

SEC. 3515 SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION AND RESPONSE STAFF FOR THE UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY

 

  • What does it do?  Another amendment to title 46 that does a lot regarding the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator (SARC). It requires at least one SARC to be employed at the US Merchant Marine Academy and provides selection criteria for a SARC. Requires a SARC to complete a specialized training within 180 days of starting in the role. It puts emphasis on maintaining the confidentiality of victims reporting sexual assault. There is a clause that addresses retaliation against sexual assault survivors and even those helping them throughout the reporting process.

  • Is it good or bad?  This seems to be more lip service than anything else because the amendment doesn’t have anything substantive. A single SARC could easily be overwhelmed given the high rates of sexual misconduct in the military. SARC employees are selected based on their experience and demonstrated abilities, which is very subjective and could even be seen as hollow requirements. Mandates training specific to the SARC to be completed within six months of taking over, which is okay. It is good to place significant importance on the confidentiality of the sexual assault survivor. The acknowledgment of prevalent retaliation against survivors in the military is great, but this does not go far enough.

  • How can we make it better?  The actual requirements of the SARC are extremely subjective, and arguably difficult to apply uniformly. There needs to be more than one SARC employee for the entire US Merchant Marine Academy. Selecting a SARC employee should involve at least some objective requirements such as a college degree (perhaps one in psychology) or a certificate of training. The specialized training, we believe, should be completed before the SARC employee’s official start date. The retaliation clause could have more teeth because, as written, it lacks preventative and consequential measures for retaliation. It only says that they may not retaliate, even if it is in the best interest of the Academy, but does not provide consequences if retaliation does occur or even safeguards to prevent it.

SEC. 3516 PROTECTION OF CADETS AT THE UNITED STATES MERCHANT MARINE ACADEMY FROM SEXUAL ASSAULT ONBOARD COMMERCIAL VESSELS

​​

  • What does it do? Amends the Chapter 513 of  Title 46 to hold commercial vessels utilized during the Sea Year Program accountable for sexual assault aboard the vessel. It also requires the owner or operator of the commercial vessel to maintain records of sexual assault training conducted while hosting a cadet. It also requires cadets to complete a survey on sexual assault at the end of their Sea Year.

  • Is it good or bad?  It is good to hold civilian contractors and private companies interacting with the military accountable too.

  • How can we make it better?  One way that this could be made better is to require training for sexual harassment and assault that doesn’t just focus on sexual assault.

SEC. 3517 TRAINING REQUIREMENT FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT INVESTIGATORS

  • What does it do?  Requires employees at the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation in New York, New York to undergo specialized training in sexual assault investigations.

  • Is it good or bad?  Those investigating sexual assault cases should have already been required to participate in this training. These are complicated cases that mandate specialized training of those involved.

  • How can we make it better?  This could be much better if it were expanded to include all government employees that handle sexual assault and harassment cases on a regular basis, across the country.

© 2018 by The Speak Out For MST Project. Proudly created with Wix.com

  • Tumblr Social Icon
  • Twitter App Icon
  • YouTube App Icon
This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now