Friday, August 16, 2013

My Failure
     One of the fundamental rules of a successful blog is to post often and consistently.  I admit that recently I have failed to do so.  I apologize for the failure.  The reason (not an excuse) is that I have been writing a book which will be published in the next thirty days.  The title of the book is Skin in the Game: Poor Kids and Patriots.  It questions whether the All-Volunteer Force is working and whether it will work in the future.  The book outlines an alternative to the All-Volunteer Force which provides sufficient manpower to support our national security, closes the civil-military gap, and saves the American taxpayer $75 billion per year.  The alternative also allows us to render moot the question "what if we had a war and no one showed up on our side?"  Going forward I intend to post entries to this blog at least twice per week.
     I wrote the following letter to the editor of the Army Times which was published in the 19 August 2013 edition:

When "Chain" Fails
     I find the debate regarding UCMJ authority over sexual assault cases in the military ironic.  The argument advance by the uniformed service chiefs that the "chain of command" can fix the problem asks the American people and Congress to ignore that they and their predecessors have failed to fix the problem for at least the past twenty years.  The Tailhook scandal happened in 1991, Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1995, and the Air Force Academy scandal in 2003.  Their argument is further weakened by the fact that, in many cases, members of the "chain of command" served as enablers or perpetrators of sexual assault.
     Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bill to give independent military prosecutors, rather than commanders, the power to decide which sexual assault crimes to try would correct a long-standing weakness in the military justice system that discourages victims from reporting attacks resulting in low prosecution rates.  The current system under the stewardship of the "chain of command" has failed not only victims and their families but also the institution.  For decades we have heard sanctimonious statements about zero tolerance and innovative programs only to have sexual violence in our military increase.  This ongoing failure to fix the problem adversely affects the readiness and capability of our Army as soldiers lose trust in those who have the responsibility to lead them.  High-quality women are less inclined to enlist or reenlist in an institution that systematically fails them.
     Rather than asking Congress to allow the "chain of command" to retain the UCMJ authority over sexual assault cases, senior uniformed bureaucrats might consider asking for forgiveness from the thousands of victims of sexual violence that the "chain of command" has failed to serve.

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