30 October, 2013

Senator Holds Up Military Nomination

From MilitaryTimes:

For six months, a prominent Democratic lawmaker has blocked Lt. Gen. Susan Helms’ nomination to be vice commander of Space Command, making it unlikely that she will ever be confirmed.

Helms continues to serve as commander of 14th Air Force. Lt. Gen. John Hyten has already been confirmed to replace her, but the Air Force is waiting for Helms to be confirmed before moving forward, Air Force spokesman Capt. Adam Gregory said. Helms’ nomination will expire in January 2015.

Both Helms and Hyten declined to comment for this story, Gregory said.

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri first objected to Helms nomination in April and then reaffirmed her stance in June, citing Helms’ decision to overturn the sex assault conviction of a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., in February 2012.

“With her action, Lt. Gen. Helms sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system: They can take the difficult and painful step of reporting the crime, they can endure the agony involved in being subjected to intense questioning often aimed at putting the blame on them, and they can experience a momentary sense of justice in knowing that they were believed when their attacker is convicted and sentenced, only to have that justice ripped away with the stroke of a pen by an individual who was never in the courtroom for the trial and who never heard the testimony,” McCaskill said in a statement submitted to the Congressional Record in June.

McCaskill’s position has not changed since then, her spokesman Drew Pusateri said.

(read the full article here)

We applaud Sen. McCaskill for taking the stand and not just rubber stamping the nomination. The Invisible War doubts that Helms' confirmation will ever go through. It's time for Helms' to step down and remove her name from consideration. It's also time for the chain of command to be taken out of the sexual assault investigation/prosecution process.

To learn more about the push for Congress to amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) go here.