Sen. Gillibrand: Chuck Hagel "has not shown leadership"

The New York senator slams the secretary of defense over sexual assault in the military

Published December 2, 2013 2:35PM (EST)

In a recent Politico Magazine piece, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has been on a righteous crusade as of late to change the U.S. military's blasé cultural and institutional response to sexual assault, took a shot at Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel for what she described as a lack of leadership on her signature issue.

Speaking of Hagel, Gillibrand told Politico's Glenn Thrush, "He has not shown leadership. … I think he has not lived up to his promises, the promises of having the passion and the drive for rooting out the scourge of sexual violence."

"I don't think that he has lived up to my expectations," Gillibrand said.

Gillibrand's main point of conflict with Hagel concerns her plan to remove sexual assault investigations from the military's chain of command, a move that, while supported by none other than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, is strongly opposed by Hagel and others in the Pentagon.

Gillibrand's critics claim that removing adjudication from the chain of command would change a commander's responsibility for good order and would cost the Pentagon millions. Gillibrand's response to these complaints has been simple: "“If the military is saying they can’t afford to prevent and to prosecute rapes, that’s an outrageous statement,” she told the Washington Post.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

MORE FROM Elias Isquith

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Chuck Hagel Glenn Thrush Kirsten Gillibrand Military Politico Sexual Assault The Washington Post