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Tuesday, June 4, 2013 - 8:33am
(CBS) — A senate hearing is underway Tuesday on Capitol Hill to address widespread sexual assault in the military.
The nation's military leaders want commanders to be able to keep their authority to handle sexual assault cases. Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the head of each branch of the military, told a Senate panel that commanders are critical to the legal system.
Dempsey said stripping commanders of some authority could adversely affect the mission.
Lawmakers led by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are pushing legislation to remove commanders' ability to decide whether serious crimes, including sexual misconduct cases, go to trial.
Dempsey and the service chiefs made a rare joint appearance at a Capitol Hill for the hearing.