Sen. Warner has introduced legislation to strengthen whistleblower protection laws and protect victims from retaliation
Jun 04 2013
Last year, Sen. Warner highlighted the importance of protecting military whistleblowers when he advocated for two pilots who spoke out about the potentially fatal technical failures of the F-22 jet. Now, recent revelations about the prevalence of sexual assault in the military and the failure of top military officials to protect the victims has sparked outrage nationwide.
On WTOP radio this morning Sen. Warner discussed a new bill he has introduced, the Military Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2013, to strengthen existing military whistleblower protection laws to ensure that victims of sexual assault and other misconduct are protected from retaliation after they report the alleged offenses.
“The numbers are pretty astonishing,” Sen. Warner said. “Right now only 15% of sexual assaults in the military are even reported.”
“Our legislation does three things,” he told hosts Mike Moss and Bruce Alan. “One, it increases the statute of limitations up to a year, similar to federal civilian whistleblower protections. Two, it makes sure that if you bring forward this case, it will be resolved in a timely matter… we’re finding that some of these sexual assault cases are taking more than a year to resolve, which doesn’t send a very good signal that it’s safe to come forward.”
“And three,” he continued, “It says that if you do bring forward a case, and your action was appropriate, your military record is going to reflect that. These victims who have brought forward sexual assault cases often still have some dark mark on their record, and the military doesn’t come back and fix that.
“What we’re trying to do is create a safe climate,” Sen. Warner concluded, “so that if someone is the victim of assault…there’s a culture in the military that says you should be able to bring that forward in a way that’s not going to affect your long-term career. Too often we’re seeing the victims or whistleblowers get retaliated against, and that’s got to stop.”