Military leaders on Tuesday expressed unified opposition to stripping commanders of the power to decide where sexual assault cases are prosecuted.

In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey and the service chiefs defended the current system, arguing it helped preserve good discipline.

“I urge that military commanders remain central to the legal process,” Dempsey said in written testimony.

“The commander’s ability to preserve good order and discipline remains essential to accomplishing any change within our profession,” he said. “Reducing command responsibility could adversely affect the ability of the commander to enforce professional standards and ultimately, to accomplish the mission.”

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