Kudos to Beth Hillman, appointed to new Defense panel on sexual assaults

hillman-10Pleased to congratulate my colleague, Dr. Elizabeth Hillman, who’s been named to the Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel, just formed by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Academic Dean of the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, Beth is well known as an expert on military law. She is the President of the National Institute of Military Justice, a nongovernmental organization on whose board I also serve, and is also a co-author of Military Justice Cases and Materials (2d ed. 2012) and author of Defending America: Military Culture and the Cold War Court-Martial (2005) (as well as an IntLawGrrls contributor). Before joining Hastings in 2007, Beth, who served in the Air Force and earned a J.D. and a history Ph.D. from Yale, taught law at Rutgers-Camden and history at the U.S. Air Force Academy and Yale.

Last September, Beth took part in a high-level Hastings symposium on the issue the new panel will address, sexual assaults and related offenses in the military. As stated by the Defense Department announcement:

‘The panel, established in accordance with section 576 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2013, is a federal advisory committee that will conduct an independent review and assessment of the systems used to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate crimes involving adult sexual assault and related offenses under article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, for the purpose of developing recommendations concerning how to improve the effectiveness of those systems.’

Beth was named to the panel by U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee. Also appointed, either by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel or by the Armed Services Committee of the House or Senate, were: one former member of Congress, Elizabeth Holtzman; four retired military officers, Army Brigadier General Melinda Dunn, Navy Vice Admiral James Houck, Army Brigadier General Colleen McGuire, and Army Colonel Holly O’Grady Cook; retired U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones; Dr. David Lisak, and Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Bryant.

The expertise of Beth and all will be much needed on the panel, announced the same day as Pentagon findings that, as reported by the New York Times,

‘ 26,000 people in the armed forces were sexually assaulted last year, up from 19,000 in 2010….’

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