Protect Our Defenders News Blog



Numbers show women have rarely exceeded a quarter of the nominations submitted to the taxpayer-funded academies by Members of Congress in any given year

New Haven, CT – Today, the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) released a new report showing the dramatically different rates men and women are nominated to the U.S. Military Service Academies by current members of Congress. Using nearly twenty-five years of nominations data obtained from the admissions offices at the U.S. Military Academy (USMA West Point), the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA), and U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA), the report ranks members of Congress based on the percentage of women they have nominated to the academies since taking office. These results follow areport from the Pentagon earlier this year showing a 47% increase in military academy sexual assault cases since the same report was last released in 2017.

The new rankings from the CVLC range from 3% women (Jodey Arrington, R-TX) to 55% women (Amata Coleman Radewagen, R-American Samoa) and include a number of past and present presidential hopefuls. In the Senate for example, Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN, 16% female nominations) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT, 17%) place among the bottom 15, while Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ, 40%), Kamala Harris (D-CA, 34%), Marco Rubio (R-FL, 34%) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY, 34%) place among the top 15.

Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United State Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders, released the following statement:

“Not only is our military facing a sexual assault crisis, but the gender gap that exists in the nominations process at the Academies demonstrates that women are consistently stymied at every opportunity to otherwise succeed. We call on Congress to take a good hard look at these numbers and what they mean in order to take the appropriate steps to improve nominations for women. As things stand, we are doing the next generation of both male and female leaders a huge disservice.”

CVLC Military Service Academy Report:

AP: Nominations to Military Academies on the Rise for Women:

USA Today: Sexual Assault, Harassment Spikes at Military Academies, Strategies Fail to Stem Crisis:

About Protect Our Defenders: Protect Our Defenders is a human rights organization.  We seek to honor, support and give voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country, and re-victimized by the military adjudication system – a system that often blames the victim and fails to prosecute the perpetrator. Learn more about Protect Our Defenders at or on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at

Protect Our Defenders advances lawsuits filed against the DoD and service academies for repeatedly ignoring rape, sexual assault and harassment, failing to prosecute perpetrators and retaliating against the victim.