The Senate unanimously passed a bill Monday that would toughen procedures for investigating and trying cases of sexual assault in the military.
The 97-0 vote came after last week’s Senate rejection of a rival bill offered by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D- N.Y., that would have removed the prosecution of sex assaults and other serious crimes from the military chain of command.
The bill the Senate passed Monday was sponsored by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D- Mo., Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R- N.H., and Sen Deb Fischer, R- Neb.
It would eliminate what is known as the “good soldier” defense, which allows service members to argue that their good military performance is evidence of their innocence when charged with a crime.
Also under the bill, when a commander decided to not prosecute a sexual assault case and that decision conflicted with the recommendation of the senior prosecutor who would try the case, a review by the next highest authority in the chain of command would be mandatory.
First published March 10 2014, 4:06 PM
Tom Curry is a National Affairs writer for NBCNews.com. He began reporting on politics and public policy for NBCNews.com in June 1996, when the site was msnbc.com.
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Before joining msnbc.com, Curry worked as a reporter/researcher for Time magazine where he reported on politics, business, social trends, and golf.
Curry reports to Politics Editor Vaughn Ververs.
He was awarded a Freedom Forum Foundation Journalism Fellowship in Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii in 1993 and a Hoover Institution Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University in 2011.
He lives in Washington D.C.