The president formally approved more than two dozen recommendations made by an independent review commission on sexual assault in the military. The changes include a call to shift prosecution decisions on sexual assault cases to special victims’ prosecutors outside of the chain of command and to remove the military’s sexual assault response coordinators and victims advocates from the command structure system.
“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,” Biden said in a statement endorsing the recommendations by the commission.
New York Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, had the support of 66 senators for a bill that would have independent prosecutors handle felonies that call for more than a year in prison. But other key lawmakers and leaders of the military services have balked at including all major crimes.
Biden hailed Gillibrand’s work on the issue.
Austin, for the first time, voiced support for taking those sexual assault and related crimes away from the chain of command and letting independent military lawyers handle them.