Washington, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, today announced the three proposals she recently introduced to address sexual assault in our nation’s armed forces will be voted on this week as part of the annual defense authorization bill, which sets policy for our nation’s military.
Noem’s provisions, which have been included in the base text of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), aim to improve military sexual assault investigations, standardize sexual assault prevention training and require the Pentagon to increase scrutiny of those selected to fill sexual assault prevention positions in the military.
“Combating sexual assault in our nation’s military is a top priority for me and I’m pleased that the provisions I have championed are included in the Chairman’s mark,” said Rep. Noem. “I look forward to discussing and debating this legislation with my colleagues later on this week as we continue focusing on ways to address this problem in a meaningful and comprehensive way.”
The House Armed Services Committee is scheduled to debate and vote on the NDAA on Wednesday, June 5.
Noem proposed changes in the following areas:
Improved Investigation of Sex-Related Offenses. Rep. Noem advocates a policy change that would direct the Secretary of Defense to standardize recommendations by military criminal investigative organizations as to whether a sex-related offense is founded or unfounded. This change would aim to give military commanders better information in the form of an expert opinion when proceeding with prosecuting sexual assault crimes.
Qualifications for Sexual Assault Prevention/Support Personnel. Rep. Noem believes the Secretary of Defense should be required to establish selection criteria for individuals in sexual assault prevention related positions. Currently, there are not any specific qualifications for these positions. Changes in this specific area are all the more important in light of recently publicized instances of military personnel in sexual assault prevention/support positions being accused of a sexual offenses themselves.
Basic Training Standards for Sexual Assault. Rep. Noem believes the Department of Defense should be directed to develop uniform training plans and materials for sexual assault prevention. Currently the individual branches of the military do their own training plans for sexual assault, highlighting the need for consistency among all branches. Rep. Noem supports a basic bar for training across all branches.