In the military, the chain of command is the foundation of discipline and order, but in recent months, legislators and many members of the military have become concerned that it’s become an obstacle to prosecuting claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Opponents of the current system think it intimidates victims from bringing claims to senior officers, while proponents see the military’s system as more than adequate in ensuring a fair process.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been building support for her proposed legislation which would remove commanding officers from being the final arbiter of sexual harassment and assault cases, but opponents argue that the current system insures trials that are fair and balanced.
How important is preserving the chain of command? And should sexual assault cases be held to different criteria in military courts?
Roger Canaff, president of End Violence Against Women International (EVAW), former Assistant District Attorney in New York, worked with the Department of the Army to investigate and prosecute sexual assault cases
Jeff Addicott, professor of law at St. Mary's School of Law in San Antonio, where he is the director of the Center for Terrorism Law; he's a 20 year JAG officer and was senior legal counsel to the Green Berets