WASHINGTON The Senate Armed Services Committee has rejected legislation that would have sidelined military commanders in sexual assault cases.
The committee on Wednesday approved an alternative plan allowing senior officers to retain key legal powers under military law. But the plan, crafted by the committee's Democratic chairman, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, subjects commanders to a review process if they choose not to prosecute a sexual assault case.
By agreeing to Levin's approach, the committee sided with the Pentagon's top brass in opposing aggressive changes to the military's legal code proposed by Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
Gillibrand's bill would remove commanders from the process of deciding whether sexual misconduct cases go to trial.
Military leaders say her legislation would undermine the ability of commanders to enforce good order.