A victims advocacy group argues the House Armed Services Committee and its chairman have not given enough attention to the persistent problem of sexual assault in the military ahead of a Wednesday hearing on the issue.
The aggressive tactics from Protect Our Defenders (POD) — which have included an online petition and Twitter campaign, as well as op-eds targeting Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) — have prompted accusations that the group has ignored important work the committee has done to try to reduce sexual assault in the military.
“How many more soldiers need to be sexually assaulted before Congress investigates Lackland and legislates fundamental reforms?” one op-ed asked, referring to a scandal at Lackland Air Base in Texas that will get its first panel hearing on Wednesday.
Committee aides say that the tactics used by the group have been frustrating and eroded trust between the group and committee.
The group’s advocates acknowledge they’ve been aggressive, but argue that’s the only way they could get movement from McKeon’s committee on sexual assault, an issue that’s plagued the military for decades.