On Thursday, Republican senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Democratic senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri joined with several female veterans of the armed forces to speak out against a proposal that would create a new justice system for serious military prosecutions, independent of military commanders. The proposal is found in an amendment championed by Democratic senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, but McCaskill, Ayotte, and others said the chain of command must be maintained if the stated goal of the Gillibrand amendment--to reduce sexual assaults in the military--is to be achieved.

"Both of us agree that the best way to protect victims and realize more aggressive and successful prosecutions is by keeping the chain of command in the process at the beginning of a criminal proceeding within the UCMJ," said McCaskill. "We believe that there will be less retaliation. We believe there will be more prosecutions, and the numbers support that. We believe that the only way to hold command accountable is to make them responsible, not to completely remove their responsibility. We believe that's a recipe for disaster."

Watch the whole press conference below:

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