Obama Signs New Military Sexual Violence Provisions Into Law

After much anticipation across the nation,President Obama signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act(NDAA) into law. In the end, it included 19 amendments to significantly reform Department of Defense sexual assault and sexual harassment policies. This landmark bill has thelargest number of sexual violence provisions ever signed into law, and represents the culmination of more than 18 months worth of relentless advocacy work by theService Women’s Action Network (SWAN). We want to thank the many veterans and service members who shared their voices to demand policy change this year, including Ayana Harrell, Nicole McCoy, Cindy McNally, Ruth Moore, Laura Sellinger and so many others.


The NDAA is an enormous bill that specifies the budget and expenditures of theDepartment of Defense(DOD). It also contains sections that deal with military issues ranging from the total number of troops to retiree benefits, and everything in between. It is one of the primary vehicles used by Congress to provide oversight and mandate change within the military. Every year, SWAN partners with key members of Congress to provide bipartisan legislative recommendations to both the House and Senate to improve the welfare of service women and women veterans.

This year, SWAN was able to help introduce into the bill a record number of provisions based on our policy agenda, chief among them to improve the way the military handles sexual assault and sexual harassment in the ranks. Other provisions were also included that improve health care for service women and military families. Specifically, the law now provides for:

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