The Biden administration expressed support for major changes in the handling of military sexual assault prosecution.
Currently, the chain of command handles these cases, rather than an independent prosecutor. The change aims to improve the legal process of cases and empower victims. “We need concrete actions that fundamentally change the way we handle military sexual assault and that make it clear that these crimes will not be minimized or dismissed,” reads a White House statement.
The proposition is included in legislation led by Senator Gillibrand and Ernst, along with Representatives Speier and Mullin. “I look forward to working with Congress to implement these necessary reforms and promote a work environment that is free from sexual assault and harassment for every one of our brave service members,” the statement continued.
However, despite expressing support, the bill has not been endorsed by the Biden administration because it is broad. Gillibrand’s legislation supports widespread changes to the military’s justice system. “A report out of Fort Hood, Texas, last year that detailed a culture of harassment and abuse has further cemented views at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill that broad changes are needed,” said Gillibrand.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the Pentagon will join Congress in establishing sexual assault prosecution offices within each military branch. Austin said an implementation plan will be developed within two months.
ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: POLITICO
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