Earlier this week, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced his support for a proposal to curb sexual assault cases inside the military. New York's junior Senator, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, is the lead sponsor of the so-called Military Justice Improvement Act which seeks to create a new system to prosecute major crimes in the military, including sexual assault, and take commanders out of the process of deciding which cases should go to trial.
Senior military figures, including Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, oppose Gillibrand’s effort to reform the military justice system. Senator Paul joins a handful of Republicans, including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, who back her proposal.
Paul’s backing could prove critical as Gillibrand attempts to build support for her bill which will be offered as an amendment to the annual Defense Authorization Act. The Kentucky senator says he sees “no reason why conservatives shouldn't support” Gillibrand’s measure.
While Paul is making the Military Justice Improvement Act a priority, he's also focusing his attention on issues of domestic surveillance and the bi-partisan push back being seen on Capitol Hill as a result of the leaked information on the National Security Agency (NSA).
"People have said the NSA leak has jeopardized our national security—I think sort of the opposite," Paul tells The Takeaway. "I think the fact that we've had the intelligence director lie to us about the program really does more to jeopardize our security because now we've lost faith. We've lost faith in the intelligence community that they will tell either Congress or the American people the truth."