H.R. NO.













encouraging female members of the united states senate to reform military investigatory and prosecutorial systems governing sexual assaults.



     WHEREAS, the Hawaii Women's Legislative Caucus is concerned about the prevalence of sexual assault in the United States military; and


WHEREAS, sexual assault within military ranks is increasingly coming under scrutiny as victims and lawmakers call for action and transparency; and


     WHEREAS, the number of reported sexual assaults in the military is on the rise; and


     WHEREAS, according to data released by the Pentagon, last year soldiers were fifteen times more likely to be raped by a comrade than killed by an enemy; and


     WHEREAS, the United States Department of Labor reports that between twenty and forty-eight percent of female veterans were sexually assaulted in the military, and more women leave the military with post-traumatic stress disorder from rape than from combat; and


     WHEREAS, proposed legislation seeks to reverse a systemic fear of reporting expressed by victims of military sexual assault due to the clear bias and inherent conflicts of interest posed by the military chain of command's current sole decision-making power over whether a case moves forward to trial; and


     WHEREAS, according to a 2012 report by the United States Department of Defense, there were 26,000 incidents of unwanted sexual contact, sexual assault, and rape throughout the United States military in 2012, but only 3,374 of the incidents were reported, commanders only initiated action in 4.3 percent of the reported incidents, and only 302 of the incidents were prosecuted; and


     WHEREAS, United States Department of Defense data indicates that in over twenty-five percent of cases, the alleged offender was in the victim's chain of command; and


     WHEREAS, according to the United States Department of Defense's report, sixty-two percent of sexual assault victims in the military indicate they were retaliated against after reporting, and fifty percent of active duty women who did not report unwanted sexual contact indicate they believed that nothing would be done with their report because the decision-making lies within their own chain of command; and


     WHEREAS, top military leadership has admitted that the current system has failed, and Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos stated in a 2013 speech at Parris Island that sexual assault victims in the military do not come forward because they do not trust the chain of command; and


     WHEREAS, a recent investigation by The Associated Press titled, "AP Analysis of US Military Sex Crimes in Japan" (February 9, 2014), found a pattern of inconsistent judgments and extremely light penalties for sexual assaults at United States military bases in Japan, with few substantiated cases requiring incarceration and many cases culminating with a letter of reprimand as the only punishment; and


     WHEREAS, The Associated Press investigation also illustrates inconsistency between different branches of the military, the Marines being more likely to send offenders to prison with fifty-three prison sentences out of two hundred seventy cases, and the Air Force being the most lenient with one hundred twenty-four sex crimes and a letter of reprimand as the only punishment for twenty-one offenders; and


     WHEREAS, the military's handling to date of sexual assault investigations is unacceptable and needs to be drastically reformed; and


     WHEREAS, the service members who protect and serve the United States deserve an independent and objective military justice system; and


     WHEREAS, President Barack Obama signed a bill in December 2013, requiring civilian review of cases in which commanders decline to indict service members accused of sex crimes, preventing commanders from reversing sexual assault convictions, and establishing punishments for retaliation against a person in the military who alleges sexual assault; and


     WHEREAS, the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act, introduced by United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and supported by forty-two United States Senators, proposes that the decision-making power over whether serious crimes akin to felonies go to trial be moved from the chain of command into the hands of non-biased, professionally trained, military prosecutors so that the decision to proceed to trial would be independent of the commander and any possible influence from within the chain of command; and


     WHEREAS, the Military Justice Improvement Act proposes that crimes that are uniquely military in nature remain within the chain of command, including thirty-seven serious crimes that are unique to the military and all misdemeanor type crimes; and


     WHEREAS, other ideas to address sexual assault in the military, such as one offered by United States Senators Claire McCaskill and Kelly Ayotte, have been proposed as well, all of which facilitate vigorous, open discussions of necessary reform; and


     WHEREAS, Senator Gillibrand has requested reports from the Department of Defense that detail sexual assault and rape cases over the last five years at four major United States military bases to shed light on how military commanders make decisions about court martials and punishments in sexual assault cases and whether the inconsistent judgments found by the Associated Press in Japan are more widespread; and


     WHEREAS, Hawaii is home to all five branches of the military forces; and


     WHEREAS, this body endorses reformation of the military's investigatory, adjudication, and sentencing guidelines in order to create a safe environment for this country's service members, and to begin transforming the military culture into one that is more transparent and in keeping with the military's mission of protecting our country, including the individuals serving among its ranks; and


     WHEREAS, the Hawaii Women's Legislative Caucus applauds United States Senator Gillibrand's efforts to highlight how the current system handles sexual assaults within the military and the work by Senator Gillibrand and other female members of the United States Senate to end sexual assault; and


WHEREAS, the Hawaii Women's Legislative Caucus applauds the female members of the United States Senate who are working in a bipartisan fashion to highlight and resolve the chronic and unacceptable problem of sexual assault in the military; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-seventh Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2014, that this body respectfully encourages female members of the United States Senate to reform the military investigatory and prosecutorial systems governing sexual assault in view of the concerns expressed in this measure; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Senator Gillibrand is encouraged to continue her efforts to require the military to adopt sweeping systemic changes to eliminate or dramatically reduce sexual assault of this country's service members; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the United States Department of Defense is encouraged to cooperate with Senator Gillibrand's efforts and provide her with the internal reports and documents regarding sexual assaults and rapes within military ranks that she has requested; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to United States Senators Kelly Ayotte, Tammy Baldwin, Barbara Boxer, Maria Cantwell, Susan Collins, Dianne Feinstein, Deb Fischer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kay Hagan, Heidi Heitkamp, Amy Klobuchar, Mary Landrieu, Claire McCaskill, Barbara Mikulski, Lisa Murkowski, Patty Murray, Jeanne Shaheen, Debbie Stabenow, and Elizabeth Warren; Hawaii's congressional delegation; and the Governor.









Report Title: 

Military; Sexual Assault; Investigation and Prosecution