Legislation Presented to Curb Sex Assaults at BMT

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would prevent a consensual relationship between a trainee and a military training instructor at Basic Military Training from being used as a defense for sexual assault. H.R. 430, cosponsored by Rep. Joe Heck (R-N.V.), focuses on the “power imbalance” between an instructor and trainee during basic training. “All sexual advances by a training instructor toward a trainee are indefensible because consent is impossible in this power dynamic,” stated Speier in a Jan. 28 release. She referred the bill to the House Armed Services Committee on Jan. 25. Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said he would have to seek legal counsel on the “technicalities of the legislation” when asked if he would support such a bill during his appearance before the House Armed Services Committee on Jan. 23. However, he said, “An individual who is serving as a military training instructor who has a relationship like this with a trainee has no place in our Air Force, and there should be a presumptive sanction under some mechanism to discharge them.” (See also Making a Difference and No Room for Misunderstanding.)