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U.S. Lawmakers Reach Deal to Overhaul How Military Handles Sexual Assault Cases

From Modern War Institute, West Point 1.20.20
December 8, 2021

United States House and Senate negotiators reached a landmark agreement on Tuesday that would strip military commanders of most of their authority to prosecute sexual assaults and myriad other criminal cases, a move that Pentagon leaders, lawmakers and presidents have resisted for nearly a generation.

The legislation, part of a broad defense policy bill, comes after nearly two decades of efforts by female lawmakers and survivors’ groups, and in spite of fierce last-minute lobbying against the proposal by military lawyers.

Under the agreement, independent military prosecutors would replace commanders in determining whether those accused of sexual assault, rape, murder, domestic violence and an array of other offenses would be prosecuted. Sexual harassment would be criminalized, but would not fall under the special prosecutor structure, a concession to opponents of the changes.

Read more: Lawmakers Reach Deal to Overhaul How Military Handles Sexual Assault Cases (nytimes.com)

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