Turner’s new bipartisan bill aims to improve military justice system regarding sexual offenses

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) last week proposed bipartisan legislation to improve the U.S. military justice system, particularly regarding sexual assault in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“This bill outlines provisions aimed at increasing oversight, protecting victims and standardizing sexual assault data sharing across the Armed Services,” Rep. Turner said.

The congressman sponsored the Military Justice Oversight and Refinement Act of 2020, H.R. 7060, on May 28 with lead sponsor U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), which would direct that the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard, and the Marine Corps each provide congressional briefings to recommend improvements to the Uniform Code of Military Justice based on the results of their separate reviews and assessments, according to the text of the bill.

Each of the military branches specifically would be required to also provide a briefing on the status of the Special Victims’ Counsel program of the Armed Forces, according to the bill’s text.

“We have implemented radical and necessary changes in the past decade to prevent military sexual assault, and this year’s bill provides additional oversight so Congress can better evaluate how those provisions are working in action and what steps need to be taken to improve the system further,” said Rep. Turner, co-chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus.

If enacted, H.R. 7060 would require increased monitoring by required in-person oversight briefings on the military justice system, Rep. Turner explained.

“This bill also addresses military sexual assault prevention by standardizing sexual offense data collection definitions across military branches, and by creating policies separating the victim from the accused at our military service academies,” said the congressman.

H.R. 7060 also would require military academies to develop separation policies under which an alleged victim and the accused minimize interaction if the alleged victim chooses not to transfer, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Turner’s office, and would standardize definitions across all of the Armed Services when reporting data related to instances of sexual offenses, among other provisions.

The measure has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.