Sexual assault in the military is still a very real problem—diving senators, reformers, and now putting two Democratic senators on the Senate Armed Services Committee in different corners. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is promoting a proposal, backed by Armed Service Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), that would keep assault in the military within the chain of command—despite a bad record of dealing with the problem. But Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has a plan to remove sexual assault from the chain of command and set up a separate prosecutor’s office to deal with issues of sexual assault such as rape. Her plan is supported by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), but also Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas). McCaskill’s plan passed 17-9 in committee last month—and Gillibrand aims to offer her plan as an amendment when the bill comes up this fall.
The issue of how to handle rape in the military is dividing senators.