Issue: Defense and National Security

WALORSKI: WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS WILL CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT FOR SAFE REPORTING

Walorski: We are talking about America’s sons and daughters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This evening, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) spoke on the floor during general debate about her military sexual assault provision included in the House version of the fiscal year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Based on a bipartisan bill, the proposal includes whistleblower protections for military sexual assault victims to encourage safe reporting and eradicate future incidents.

The House is scheduled to vote on the final passage of the Walorski proposal as part of the NDAA on Friday.

Full Remarks:

“Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee for yielding me time.

“I also want to thank him for his tremendous leadership in crafting a bill that pushes solutions to combat sexual violence in the Armed Forces.

“This bill includes a provision I authored with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez to encourage victims to step out of the darkness.

“The provision specifically identifies reports of sexual assault as a form of communication under whistleblower protections.

“It ensures victims cannot face reprisal for reporting acts of sexual assault.

“Sexual violence has reached epidemic levels and it is eroding the foundations of trust and camaraderie that our proud military tradition was built.

“I had the privilege to visit our troops in Afghanistan and stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest military in the world.

“Hearing their concerns on this issue firsthand typifies the horrific reality of this situation.

“Mr. Speaker, there were an estimated 26,000 cases of military sexual assault last year alone, with only 3,600 victims reporting.

“It is reported that 62 percent of those who have been assaulted went on to experience some form of retaliation.

“Citing these facts and figures do not attest to the victims and real life faces of this problem.

“We are talking about our sons and daughters.

“We are talking about our brothers and sisters.

“In Indiana, a brave woman named Lisa Wilken, an Air Force veteran, came forward to share her own story of repetitive sexual abuse that she suffered during her military career.

“After being raped, she reported the incident to the Air Force.

“Her description of the reporting process is chilling.

“Whistleblower protections will create an environment for safe reporting so that victims, like Lisa, can come forward and demand justice.

“For the troops who have been victimized while serving their country, and the countless young Americans who someday want to serve, I ask that we do the right thing.

“It is time for this Congress to act.

“I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill and the thoughtful reforms within.”

NATIONAL DEFENSE BILL INCLUDES WALORSKI MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT PROPOSAL

Whistleblower protections proposal pass HASC full committee markup

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Armed Services Committee (HASC) approved its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014, including a provision by Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) extending whistleblower protections to victims of military sexual assault. The proposal is based on bipartisan legislation introduced by Walorski and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46) to strengthen existing military whistleblower protection laws and clarify that victims are protected from punishment for reporting sexual assault.

“These provisions are designed to get to the root of the problem, creating a safe reporting environment for military sexual assault victims and demanding accountability from military leaders,” said Walorski, a freshman member of the House Armed Services Committee. “Our goal is to secure a system for safe reporting to encourage victims to come forward and seek justice without fear of reprisal. I am pleased to see this bipartisan measure included in the NDAA, moving it one step closer to becoming law.”

The Walorski provision requires an Inspector General investigation into allegations of retaliatory personnel actions taken against victims who have reported alleged instances of rape, sexual assault, or other forms of sexual misconduct in the military.

A newly released Pentagon report estimated nearly 26,000 servicemembers were sexually assaulted last year, with just 3,374 cases reported. The Department of Defense finds an alarming rate of victims do not come forward due to fear of retaliation.

The bill continues to gain bipartisan support, with 71 co-sponsors currently listed. Earlier this week, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced companion legislation.

WALORSKI MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT PROVISION CONTINUES TO BUILD MOMENTUM

Whistleblower protections proposal included in full committee markup

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) plans to consider a provision authored by Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) extending whistleblower protections for military sexual assault victims. Walorski introduced a bipartisan bill alongside Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46) to strengthen whistleblower protection laws and clarify that victims are protected from punishment for reporting sexual assault. The proposal was approved by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel.

“Congress is one step closer to passing meaningful laws to combat military sexual assault and grant our servicemembers the protection and peace of mind they deserve,” said Walorski, freshman member of the House Armed Services Committee. “Our bipartisan proposal highlights a gaping hole in the military justice system by bringing the alarming issue of underreporting to light and demanding accountability from military officials.”

If adopted by the full committee, the Walorski provision will be included in the House version of the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The bill continues to gain bipartisan support, with 71 co-sponsors currently added.

WALORSKI MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT BILL ADVANCES IN HOUSE ARMED SERVICES SUBCOMMITTEE

Whistleblower protections proposal to be included in full committee markup

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Armed Services Subcommittee (HASC) on Military Personnel today approved a proposal authored by Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) extending whistleblower protections to victims of military sexual assault. The proposal is based on bipartisan legislation introduced by Walorski and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46) to strengthen existing military whistleblower protection laws and clarify that victims of sexual crimes are protected from punishment for reporting sexual assault. It will next be considered in the HASC full committee markup in early June.

“Eradicating military sexual assault is a pertinent issue demanding immediate action to provide protections for our servicemembers,” said Walorski. “Today’s passing vote moves this bill one step closer to becoming law, ensuring safe reporting and demanding accountability within the Armed Forces.”

If adopted by the HASC full committee, Walorski provisions will be included in the House version of the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). According to a recent Pentagon report, there were an estimated 26,000 victims of sexual violence in the military during FY2012, a startling 37% increase from FY2011. The Department of Defense also found victims often do not come forward due to fear or anticipated retaliation that may affect their careers. Extending whistleblower protections would address this issue and provide much-needed protections for military sexual assault victims, establishing safeguards to encourage reporting and eliminate future incidents.

WHITE HOUSE INVITES WALORSKI TO DISCUSS MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT BILL

Freshman Congresswoman joins bipartisan discussion with Administration senior advisors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the only Republican freshman, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) was invited to join a bipartisan meeting with White House senior advisers to discuss legislation geared toward reducing military sexual violence, including her sponsored bill on whistle blower protections for military sexual assault victims.

“It was a privilege to join my colleagues and discuss important measures that will encourage reporting and prevent future cases of sexual assault in the military,” said Walorski, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. “Today’s meeting was a necessary step toward strategizing a bipartisan approach to pass legislation that protects our servicemembers and eradicates this frightening situation.”

Walorski introduced a bipartisan bill with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46) providing whistleblower protections for survivors of military sexual violence. The bill strengthens existing protection laws to clarify that victims of sexual crimes are protected from punishment for reporting sexual assault.

During fiscal year 2011, the Department of Defense reported an estimated 19,000 victims of sexual violence in the military, but only 2,723 servicemembers filed a report of sexual assault. The Department of Defense also found that victims often don’t come forward because they worry about retaliation or fear that reporting a fellow servicemember may negatively impact their career. On Tuesday, the Pentagon released a new report stating a disturbing rise in sexual assault in the military.

CONGRESSWOMAN JACKIE WALORSKI TOURS AM GENERAL MILITARY ASSEMBLY PLANT

MISHAWAKA, IN – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a freshman member of the House Armed Services Committee, last week visited the AM General Military Assembly Plant in Mishawaka to meet employees, discuss industry issues, tour the active HUMVEE and Blast Resistant Vehicle – Off road (BRV-O) Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) production line, and speed around the AM General test track in the BRV-O – the company’s latest innovative offering to the U.S. Military for the next generation Light Tactical Vehicle.

Walorski recently returned from a visit to Afghanistan and Bahrain to learn more from U.S. military leadership, servicemembers, and diplomats about the recent developments on the ground and the bilateral security agreement charting the course over the next few of years in Afghanistan.

“After returning from Afghanistan, it is clear that the HUMVEE is a critical asset to the security and tactical operations of our servicemembers in theater and allies around the world—including the Afghan National Army,” said Walorski. “The decades of innovation and quality infused into the HUMVEE and the BRV-O directly reflect AM General’s world-class workforce. These jobs are critical to the security of our troops and allies, assisting in the mission to keep our nation safe. I am honored to convey the appreciation from our troops overseas to AM General for their continued support.”

“We are honored to have been able to host Congresswoman Walorski and members of her staff,” said AM General President and CEO, Charles M. Hall. “Our team truly appreciates the fact that she came out to the facility to learn about the issues we are faced with in this austere budget environment and to recognize the talented men and women who work at our company.”

WALORSKI, SANCHEZ INTRODUCE WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS BILL FOR MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In light of today’s Pentagon report stating a disturbing rise in sexual assault in the military, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), members of the House Armed Services Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation providing protections for survivors of military sexual violence. The bill strengthens existing military whistleblower protection laws to clarify that victims of sexual crimes are protected from punishment for reporting sexual assault.

According to the Department of Defense, there were an estimated 19,000 victims of sexual violence in the military during fiscal year 2011. However, only 2,723 servicemembers filed a report of sexual assault. The Department of Defense also found that victims often don’t come forward because they worry about retaliation or fear that reporting a fellow servicemember may negatively impact their career.

“It is absolutely inexcusable that military sexual violence has reached epidemic levels. The prevalence of sexual assault inside the military is a stain on its record of being the greatest force for good the world has ever known. Servicemembers who become victims of sexual violence deserve nothing less than the assurance and peace of mind that they can safely report these crimes, without fear of reprisal from within their ranks,” said Congresswoman Walorski. “Military sexual assault is not just a crime, but also impacts morale and military readiness. I am glad to partner with Congresswoman Sanchez on this important bipartisan legislation to encourage safe reporting and eradicate future occurrences of sexual violence in the Armed Forces.”

“I’m deeply concerned, though not surprised, to see this year’s report indicating that the number of sexual assaults in the military has risen. Most disturbingly, 62% of the women who experienced and reported sexual assault to DoD authorities felt some form of social, administrative or professional retaliation,” said Congresswoman Sanchez. “This reflects a terrible problem of culture and climate in our ranks, one that requires action – not just rhetoric – from Congress and the military. As the senior female on the Armed Services Committee and the founder and co-chair of the Women in the Military Caucus, I have made it my priority in my time in Congress to make servicewomen who are the victims of sexual assault feel safe and protected and to help them be heard. I’m proud to introduce this bill alongside Rep. Walorski and I hope it works to improve the quality of DoD’s response to sexual assault and to increase trust in the military justice process.”

CONGRESSWOMAN JACKIE WALORSKI VISITS AFGHANISTAN, BAHRAIN

Members of Congress meet with military officials, servicemembers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a freshman member of the House Armed Services Committee, yesterday returned to Washington after her first visit to Afghanistan and Bahrain.

“Our military embodies a standard of excellence, professionalism, and unparalleled talent that all Americans should be proud of,” said Walorski. “I was deeply humbled to meet Hoosier servicemen and women during their deployment in Afghanistan, to thank them for their devoted service and deliver care packages and cooling neck wraps from the HUGS Project of Elkhart.”

Members of Congress met with military officials, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and U.S. Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan James B. Cunningham, stopping later in Bahrain to meet with the U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain and leaders from the Navy’s 5th Fleet. While in Afghanistan, the delegation heard important updates from key leaders on military, civil, counter-insurgency, and counter-terrorism initiatives.

“I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the current state of interagency cooperation, special operations, and intelligence activities in Afghanistan. Visiting our troops in theater reinforces the urgent need for Congress to ensure our military is prepared to respond to threats around the globe and keep faith with servicemembers and their families when they return home.” said Walorski.

The trip was led by Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-01), and included Rep. Bill Enyart (IL-12), Rep. Joe Courtney (CT-02), Rep. Bill Flores (TX-17), and Rep. Madeleine Bordallo (GU). Walorski was one of only two freshmen Members in the delegation.

WALORSKI COMPLETES MILITARY INSTALLATION TOUR

Congresswoman visits Naval Support Activity Crane, Camp Atterbury, and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center

CRANE, IN – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, yesterday stopped at Naval Support Activity Crane (NSA Crane), Camp Atterbury, and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center as part of a military installation tour. The purpose of her visit was to gain a better understanding for the technical capabilities and view focus areas with military personnel.

“When duty calls, Hoosier servicemen and women are proud to be amongst our nation’s first responders. With budgetary challenges causing uncertainty for the Armed Forces, I appreciate the opportunity to take a first-hand look at the daily operations and current affairs on our military bases,” said Walorski. “Moving forward, Congress must ensure our military maintains necessary funding to continue protecting our nation and providing appropriate benefits for those who bravely serve.”

Walorski was introduced to a host of critical trusted technologies that contribute to strategic deterrence operations for our Armed Forces at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane (NSWC Crane) and Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA). As the third largest Navy installation in the world, the U.S. Army calls NSA Crane home for the storage and production of nearly one-third of the nation’s conventional ordnance. NSA Crane also employs hundreds of high-tech civilian jobs, contributing nearly $2 million dollars a day to the local economy.

NSWC Crane closely collaborates with the National Guard at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center and Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, two other facilities visited by the Congresswoman on her tour. Camp Atterbury supplies unique training facilities for military units and agencies from the local, state, and federal governments. The Muscatatuck Urban Training Center consists of a 1,000 acre reconstructed city complex for simulated training exercises. These high quality facilities share valuable partnerships with universities and private industries to advance tech transfer and innovation.

Automatic spending cuts may cause budget reductions for various programs and personnel at military facilities in Indiana, including civilian personnel reductions. Walorski plans to stay updated on potential impacts that may cause downsizing or reduced productions.

CONGRESSWOMAN WALORSKI TOURS GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE

GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, IN – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today visited Grissom Air Reserve Base to tour the facility and meet members of the military and civilian workforce. Accompanied by Col. Donald Buckley, Col. Paul Weimer, and Lt. Col. Maureen McAllen, Walorski learned more about the base, including the 434th Air Refueling Wing, the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command.

“Grissom Air Reserve Base plays an integral role in our nation’s national security and is a significant contributor to the local economy,” said Walorski. “As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, it is critical that Hoosier service members continue to have access to resources needed to protect our country.”

Members of the Grissom Community Council and Miami County Economic Development Authority joined Walorski during her tour of the air traffic control tower and radar approach control facility. The base fire department also assists within the community, and is prepared to support Miami County in emergency situations.

Grissom Air Reserve Base is just one of five Air Force Reserve Command bases in the country, and maintains reserve bases for the Army and Marine Corps. The combined military-civilian work force on base is the largest employer in Miami County.

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