Arizona Republican and Air Force combat veteran Sen. Martha McSally is calling for a series of high-level discussions with top brass from the Air Force and Pentagon, to tackle sexual assault within the U.S. military’s ranks.
Sen. McSally, who served combat tours in the Middle East as an A-10 Thunderbolt pilot and later became the first female commander of an Air Force fighter squadron, called for the “executive summit” with service and department leaders in a letter sent to the Pentagon on Wednesday.
The letter, sent to outgoing Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, came a week after Sen. McSally publicly disclosed she had been a victim of sexual assault during her time in uniform.
“I write to request an immediate executive summit with you, [Air Force chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein] and other senior Air Force leaders and policy experts to tackle the issue of sexual assault in our United States Air Force,” McSally wrote.
“Despite a number of positive changes over the past several years, we have not seen a significant reduction [in] sexual assault reports or increase in convictions within the Air Force or across the services,” she said in the letter to Mrs Wilson, who announced she would be leaving the top job in the Air Force earlier this month.
Sen. McSally first acknowledged her assault at the hands of a senior Air Force officer last Wednesday, during Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee hearing on sexual assault in the military.
“I didn’t trust the system at the time, I blamed myself. I was ashamed and confused. I thought I was strong but felt powerless. The perpetrators abused their position of power in profound ways,” she said during the hearing.
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