White House Demands Update to Military Code of Justice

(RightWing.org) – President Biden has signed an executive order that will force a radical change in the US military’s justice system. The White House says the change is needed to protect sexual assault victims in the armed forces. The military says it will undermine the authority of its commanders.

On July 28, Biden, following recommendations made by a 2021 review board set up by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and approved by Congress in 2022, signed an order to give independent military lawyers the power to decide whether to prosecute serious offenses, including sexual assaults. This means stripping commanders of that power, and the service chiefs think that’s a terrible idea.

As more women serve in the US military, there’s been an unfortunate rise in sexual assault cases involving our service people. The military chain of command has been working on solving this problem by improving education for military personnel, but Congress has its own ideas on how to do it. Legislators claim commanders are sometimes willing to overlook sexual assaults, either to protect suspects or maintain their unit’s reputation; the result, they say, is charges not getting pressed, incidents being swept under the rug and victims suffering even more.

In 2021 Biden ordered Austin, the new defense secretary, to set up a board to review sexual assault in the military. One of its recommendations was to give military lawyers outside the accuser’s chain of command the power to decide if serious cases are prosecuted. Congress voted that through, but because it means a change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice — which has governed military law since it replaced the Articles of War in 1950 — it needed presidential approval. It now has it.

While Liberals support the change, senior commanders are appalled. They argue that the increasing number of reported assaults shows military victims are more confident about coming forward. They’re also worried that taking responsibility for discipline away from commanders will weaken their authority and give troops a way to short-circuit the chain of command that combat effectiveness depends on. Liberals and some assault victims are welcoming this move, but will it damage our military?

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