Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The UCMJ May Get A Domestic Violence Update To Prevent The Next Texas Church Shooting
Amid the ongoing national conversation around domestic violence and sexual assault, lawmakers are pushing the Department of Defense to better define domestic violence as a criminal offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice to both punish abuse within the ranks and prevent future tragedies like the one that struck the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Texas, in November 2017.
- The legislation: Members of the House Armed Services Committee unanimously agreed on May 9 to include the Military Domestic Violence Reporting Enhancement Act (H.R.4639), proposed by Nevada Democrat Rep. Jacky Rosen, to the annual defense authorization bill currently working its way through Congress.
- What it does: The proposal would amend Article 128 of the UCMJ to include more specific definitions of domestic violence as any action taken to "intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound another person of whom the person is an intimate partner." The proposal would also prohibit the sale or possession of firearms by any service member convicted of domestic violence under the new definition.
- Why it's happening: The gun-sales provision was clearly inspired by the case of Devin Patrick Kelley, the disgraced former airman convicted by court-martial of beating his wife and child who later carried out the deadliest mass shooting in an American house of worship in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on November 5, 2017. Kelley had a history of domestic violence and reportedly targeted the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs because his ex-wife's parents worshipped there.
- Why it matters: While civilian domestic violence charges are sent to the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS), the lack of a clear domestic violence charge under the UCMJ means that court-martial convictions often go unreported, resulting in tragedies like the Sutherland Springs massacre. "We are one step closer to getting rid of this dangerous loophole in the UCMJ that allows dangerous individuals convicted of domestic abuse to buy firearms," Rep.Rosen said in a statement, "and I will work to ensure this commonsense measure continues to move forward and gets signed into law."
Sure, this is just one provision proposed by HASC amid the ongoing NDAA markup, but it's an important measure worth watching as the military continues to grapple with questions of domestic violence and sexual assault within its ranks. And given that lawmakers have been working to close that so-called loophole since Kelley's history emerged after his Sutherland Springs rampage, chances are it has a good shot at actually becoming law.
A Minnesota Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter with three Guardsmen aboard crashed south of St. Cloud on Thursday, said National Guard spokeswoman Army Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens.
At this time, the National Guard is not releasing any information about the status of the three people aboard the helicopter, Heusdens told Task & Purpose on Thursday.
The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.
Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."
Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.
The Navy could deploy a second carrier to the Middle East if Trump orders an Iran surge, top admiral says
The Navy could send a second aircraft carrier to the Middle East if President Donald Trump orders a surge of forces to the region, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said on Thursday.
Gordon Lubold and Nancy Youssef of the Wall Street Journal first reported the United States is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East to deter Iran from attacking U.S. forces and regional allies. The surge forces could include several ships.
I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.
Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.
An internal investigation spurred by a nude photo scandal shows just how deep sexism runs in the Marine Corps
"I will still have to work harder to get the perception away from peers and seniors that women can't do the job."
Some years ago, a 20-year-old female Marine, a military police officer, was working at a guard shack screening service members and civilians before they entered the base. As a lance corporal, she was new to the job and the duty station, her first in the Marine Corps.
At some point during her shift, a male sergeant on duty drove up. Get in the car, he said, the platoon sergeant needs to see you. She opened the door and got in, believing she was headed to see the enlisted supervisor of her platoon.
Instead, the sergeant drove her to a dark, wooded area on base. It was deserted, no other Marines were around. "Hey, I want a blowjob," the sergeant told her.
"What am I supposed, what do you do as a lance corporal?" she would later recall. "I'm 20 years old ... I'm new at this. You're the only leadership I've ever known, and this is what happens."
She looked at him, then got out of the car and walked away. The sergeant drove up next to her and tried to play it off as a prank. "I'm just fucking with you," he said. "It's not a big deal."
It was one story among hundreds of others shared by Marines for a study initiated in July 2017 by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL). Finalized in March 2018, the center's report was quietly published to its website in September 2019 with little fanfare.
The culture of the Marine Corps is ripe for analysis. A 2015 Rand Corporation study found that women felt far more isolated among men in the Corps, while the Pentagon's Office of People Analytics noted in 2018 that female Marines rated hostility toward them as "significantly higher" than their male counterparts.
But the center's report, Marines' Perspectives on Various Aspects of Marine Corps Organizational Culture, offers a proverbial wakeup call to leaders, particularly when paired alongside previous studies, since it was commissioned by the Marine Corps itself in the wake of a nude photo sharing scandal that rocked the service in 2017.
The scandal, researchers found, was merely a symptom of a much larger problem.