Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Representing California’s 46th Congressional District
PRESS RELEASE, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 23, 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Morris, 202-225-2965, Emily.Morris@mail.house.gov
REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ RESPONDS TO DEFENSE DEPARTMENT MILITARY FACILITIES SECURITY REVIEWS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-46), founder and co-chair of the Women in the Military Caucus and senior member of the House Armed Services committee, today released the following statement in response to the White House’s announcement that the Defense Department will review security measures at military facilities after the attacks on military recruitment centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
“The most important part of our military is the well-being of our soldiers which is an issue I have fought for consistently. We need a safer environment for our military personnel because it is obvious there are critical security gaps,” said Rep. Sanchez.
“Two years ago, I identified the security gaps in military facilities when I introduced the Track It To Prevent It Act, which called for reviews of the security at military installations. While the legislation focused on addressing the epidemic of sexual assault in our military and making the military a safer place for women, I also pinpointed the need to improve the security of military facilities, including barracks. My intention was to look at the bigger picture which requires setting the correct infrastructure in place to ensure the safety of all of our military personnel.
“The Defense Department is overdue to take action in several areas, and there are no good excuses for any delay – especially when the well-being of our military personnel is at risk. I will keep working and fighting to protect our service members.”
Rep. Sanchez’s Track It To Prevent It Act, provisions of which were included in the 2013 NDAA, holds commanders accountable for their unit’s climate, strengthens their ability to prevent and respond to sexual assaults and asks for a review of security measures. One of the provisions asked the Secretary of Defense to look into identifying security gaps on military installations and also look into using 24-hour electronic monitoring at all points of entry into the barracks.
As co-founder of the Women in the Military caucus, Rep. Sanchez has been part of the long fight to address this issue. A member of the Armed Services Committee since coming to Congress in 1997, Rep. Sanchez immediately began pushing for significant measures to fight sexual assault in the military, using the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) as a vehicle.
Sanchez led the effort to update outdated sexual assault provisions in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, originally enacted in 1950, in order to grant additional victims’ rights. The provisions were passed in the 2005 defense authorization bill. In 2006, she led the effort to reform the Uniform Code of Military Justice to include a meaningful sexual assault statute and in 2009 she requested a Sexual Assault Database.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is proud to represent California’s 46th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Santa Ana, and parts of the cities of Garden Grove and Orange in Orange County. She serves as Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces and as the second ranked Democrat on the Committee on Homeland Security.