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  • Writer's pictureAdam DeRito

The DeRito Act

It has been several months since the last blog post, just like the last one was. But there have been a lot of updates since the fall of 2023. I also had a few more surgeries and had to deal with some extra recovery time, so that was taking priority. Interestingly enough, the political season in the United States is in full swing, and as I have experienced in the past, normally when there are variations in the political climate, constituent issues go to the lowest of the priority lists for members of Congress. I've recognized this as normal procedure in the past. So instead of repeating the same cycle, a different approach was taken.

The issues that the Air Force Academy faces should be a bi-partisan issue. Surprisingly enough, when it comes to local and state politics in Colorado; this is not the case. There are multiple issues with sitting members of Congress being members of the Board of Visitors for the Air Force Academy. When it comes to the Falcon Foundation, previously known as the Air Force Academy Athletic Corporation, the status as a "non-profit" legally hides it financial dealings when it comes to dealing with sitting members of Congress, and other elected officials. Historically, the Air Force Academy has been embedded with financial corruption since the Air Force Athletic Corporation was founded when it comes to resolving issues of sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct from officers and enlisted alike in the chain of command of leadership for Cadets at the Academy.

Throughout my deployment in the Middle East, I dealt directly with the current administration to resolve my case officially. The 10th District Court of Appeals, although agreeing that my Constitutional rights were violated, stated they would not make a decision on my case and kicked it back to the military citing Parker v. Levy which states "The military is a separate society and should be treated as such", kicking it back to the DoD and allowing us to refile in the future. We have not yet refiled, as we are taking new administrative actions in the case of DeRito v. USA.

As service members, we should not be beholden to the military as the 4th branch of government. To this day, it refuses to hold leaders accountable within its own "legal systems" under the UCMJ, and consequently, ignoring the Constitution. The founding document that all member of the military and veterans raised their right hand to "Defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic". The Vanessa Guillen Act failed to resolve military accountability when it comes to holding commanders responsible, because despite removing cases from the immediate chain of command, cases are still handled by a DoD entity. As a result, no cases have been properly adjudicated, nor resolved, since the military still maintains controls of these processes.

Enter "The DeRito Act". For the past year, a lobbying group and I have been meeting with various members of Congress and attending political events around the country to gain support for this critical bill. What is "The DeRito Act"? In short, it will define within the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) that it is ILLEGAL to falsify mental health records for service members reporting sexual assault, harassment, or misconduct. Contrary to popular belief, it is not explicitly illegal to do under current definitions within the UCMJ. If leaders in the military do violate these proposed revisions in the UCMJ, then they would be exclusively handled in the civilian justice system under current HIPPA Federal Laws, and not within the military. This mandates accountability by giving military members and veterans an avenue to prosecute people in the military outside of the military chain of command, its civilian entities, and UCMJ. It would revolutionize our military, encourage more people to join knowing there is actual accountability, and provide justice to tens of thousands of service members and veterans whose Constitutional rights have been violated.

Of course, such a bold and progressive reform is getting a lot of resistance from Pentagon brass, and this is exactly why this act needs to be co-sponsored by members of Congress in the next NDAA. Our service members and veterans deserve actual reform, accountability, and justice. What can you do to help as a supporter? Call your Congressional representatives and Senators to encourage them to co-sponsor "The DeRito Act" as soon as possible.

Over the next several months I will be advocating for this bill around the country with congressional members and political leaders as we enter the 2024 election season, which is getting quite contentious. Here is a recent picture of an even held at Mar-a-lago where I was able to meet with many fantastic leaders around this country who never even knew we had such issues in our great American military, nor knew many were being treated so poorly by various corrupt military officers and non-commissioned officers in the ranks.

Together, we will make a difference. Together, we will make USAFA, our Federal Service Academies, and our military Great Again!

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