Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-02) will be announcing the Vanessa Guillen Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act this week.
Miller-Meeks has worked directly with the Guillén’s family, whose daughter, U.S Army Soldier Vennessa Guillén, had reportedly been sexually assaulted and horrifically murdered by another enlisted Fort Hood Soldier in Texas. The family made an appearance announcing their support for the new act in a press conference. The family has been actively involved in crafting this new legislation.
The legislation advocates for the shift of delicate and traumatic cases of sexual assault and other criminal cases to be evaluated and prosecuted by special military prosecutors instead of military commanders.
“As a 24-year Army veteran, I understand the trauma that too many of our servicemembers have endured. What happened to Vanessa, and has happened to so many others, is tragic, and we must do more to keep our servicemembers safe and get them the justice they deserve,” said Miller-Meeks. “I am proud to join such a large and bipartisan group of members to introduce the Vanessa Guillén Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act to reform our military justice system for the better. This system has been broken for too long, and the time to act is now.”
“She understands the trauma that service members have gone through,” said Communications Director William Kiley about Miller-Meeks, who has had 24 years in the United States Army where she retired as a Lieutenant Colonel.
“The most important thing is that you see all these stories on the news on military installations, you don’t see these victims get a fair trial and justice that they deserve,” stated Kiley.
“This is the time to get this done,” said Kiley, while also emphasizing that this will ensure victims and their families trust in the military justice system; all the while promoting a fair trial.
On Tuesday evening Secretary of Defence came out in support of what Miller-Meeks’ bill intends to accomplish.
From colleague Jennifer Griffin. DefSec Austin: We will work with Congress to amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice, removing the prosecution of sexual assaults and related crimes from the military chain of command.
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) June 23, 2021
This legislation is similar to The Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act that had been worked on by Senator Joni Ernst, Chuck Grassley, and Kirsten Gillibrand.
The legislation in its entirety can be found HERE.