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(NBC News) Top commanders faced Senators demanding answers Tuesday regarding the rash of sexual assaults in the military.

Senators are clearly outraged.

Since March they've introduced at least seven bills related to sexual assault in the ranks.

The most far-reaching would keep military commanders from handling those cases.

Lawmakers lined up top commanders from each branch of the military and demanded they stop the rash of sexual assaults.

"We ask a hell of a lot of our troops, but I refuse to ask them to put up with rape," said Senator Mark Udall.

The Senate hearing comes on the same day Army General Jeffrey Sinclair was due back in court at Fort Bragg on sexual assault charges and as defense officials investigate three Naval Academy football players for allegedly assaulting a female midshipman last year.

"We can and will restore trust within the Force and with the American people," vowed Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Martin Dempsey.

The latest Pentagon report estimates sexual assaults skyrocketed last year from 19,000 to 26,000.

More than 40 Senators have already backed several bills that would increase oversight and add new protections for victims.

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