June 13, 2017

Warren, Sullivan Introduce Bipartisan Protecting Servicemembers Online Act of 2017

Bill to Close "Revenge Porn" Loophole in UCMJ, Protect Servicemembers From Harassment

Bill Text
Fact Sheet

Washington, D.C. - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today introduced the bipartisan Protecting Servicemembers Online Act of 2017 to help protect servicemembers from "revenge pornography." The legislation would amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to prohibit the nonconsensual distribution of pornographic photographs, prohibit harassing communication, and strengthen the tools available to military prosecutors when these instances arise, while also protecting individuals' rights.

"Our military personnel risk their lives for this country, and they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. This bipartisan legislation is a common sense proposal to help protect servicemembers from degrading behavior that undermines our values and damages unit cohesion," Senator Warren said. "I'm glad to be working with my Armed Services colleague Dan Sullivan to improve the UCMJ and to help put an end to these incidents."

"The United States Military must continue to provide the toughest training in the world - with the highest standards," said Senator Sullivan. "But this culture should never entail sexual assault and related degrading abuses. This legislation will give military prosecutors the tools they need to put an end to such abuses."

There have been multiple documented cases of "revenge porn" in the military, and while senior military officers have condemned the behavior and taken steps to prevent it, the Pentagon has not had the tools to work to shut down the practice.

The UCMJ currently has a provision to prohibit taking a photo of another person's "private area," but does not include a provision to prohibit the nonconsensual sharing of these photos, whether the photo was originally taken with or without consent. A complete fact sheet of the Protecting Servicemembers Online Act of 2017 is available here.