The Air Force’s chief legal officer wants to know what you think it will take to reduce sexual assault in the military.
General Counsel Charles A. Blanchard asks airmen and civilians alike for feedback on a blog post this week. Blanchard oversees Air Force lawyers around the world.
The call-out comes just more than a week after the chief of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office was arrested for sexual battery in Arlington, Va. Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski is accused of grabbing the breasts and buttocks of a woman he didn’t know outside a Crystal City restaurant not far from the Pentagon early May 5. He’ll stand trial in Arlington July 18.
Days after Krusinski’s arrest, the Defense Department released a new report that said sexual assaults are up in the military.
In his blog, Blanchard poses a series of questions: Since most sexual assaults go unreported, how does the military determine whether more reports are a good thing or a bad thing? In other words, are more victims coming forward or are there more assaults?
Should a new Air Force program that provides legal counsel to victims of sexual assault be expanded to the other services? Which prevention programs are working and which aren’t? Is alcohol the major factor it appears to be when it comes to the crime of sexual assault?
Blanchard also asks whether commanders ought to be involved in Uniform Code of Military Justice actions. Some lawmakers have argued that reporting of sexual assaults should be taken outside the chain of command. A growing number of Air Force leaders and members of Congress have expressed support for removing from commanders the authority to overturn convictions following a highly-contentious decision by the commander of the Third Air Forces to toss a sex assault conviction of a former Aviano Air Base, Italy, inspector general and F-16 pilot.
Finally, the chief legal officer asks: “What issues are those of us in the Beltway ignoring?”
You can find the blog post — and give your feedback to Blanchard — .