“There have been four sexual assaults, according to the Capitol Chronical, but not a single general court martial? Something is very wrong here,” says Indiana Legion Legislative Chairperson Mark Gullion.
The aim of Indiana House Bill 1076 and Senate Bill 279 is to fix the problem of Indiana Governors not calling general court martials, however, the reasoning behind this is deceptive.
In the Indiana National Guard, general court martials are used to deal with severe cases of misconduct, including sexual assault and the only person with power to convene a general court martial is the Governor. Shockingly, despite four reported incidents of sexual assault within the Guard last year, not a single general court martial had been convened.
The argument in favor of these bills would like to make it look like the Governor is at fault, but he is not. Under Indiana law, the Governor can only call a general court martial if it is requested by the Indiana National Guard. Since taking office in 2017, Governor Holcomb has not received a single request for a general court martial.
"They are searching for a solution to a problem that they created.” said Gullion, “Not only that, but they are using it as an excuse to take away the rights of our service members."
SB 279 and HB 1076 would also remove the right of a State Guardsmen’s right to request a court martial in lieu of Article 15, nonjudicial punishment.