The following was recently reported by the Service Women’s Action Network.
On Wednesday night, after much anticipation across the nation, President Obama signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. In the end, it included 19 amendments to significantly reform Department of Defense sexual assault and sexual harassment policies. This landmark bill has the largest number of sexual violence provisions ever signed into law
Specifically, the law now provides for:
- Prohibiting the military from recruiting anyone convicted of a sex offense
- Mandatory separation of convicted sex offenders
- Insurance coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest for service women and military family members
- Retention of restricted report documentation for 50 years if so desired by the victim
- The creation of “Special Victims Units” to improve investigation, prosecution and victim support in connection with child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault cases
- Allowing victims to return to active duty after separation to help prosecute sex offenders
- The creation of an independent review panel comprised of civilian and military members that will closely examine the way that the DOD investigates, prosecutes, and adjudicates sexual assaults
- Required sexual assault prevention training in pre-command and command courses for officers
- Improved data collection and reporting by the military on sexual assault and sexual harassment cases
- Annual command climate assessment surveys to track individual attitudes toward sexual assault and sexual harassment
- A review of unrestricted sexual assault reports and the nature of any subsequent separations of victims who made those reports
- Notification to service members of the options available for the correction of military records due to any retaliatory personnel action after making a report of sexual assault or sexual harassment
- Requirement for DOD to establish a policy for comprehensive sexual harassment prevention and response
- Language that will allow better oversight and tracking of DOD’s implementation of sexual assault provisions from prior Defense Authorizations in order to ensure they are being enforced properly
In a normal, sane world, this list might read like a sensible enough policy to deal with problems encountered by service women, as well as service men.
But we are not living in a normal, sane world. We are living in a world where problems involving sexual assault and harassment, or the allegation of the same are politicized, twisted and transformed into draconian measures that will invariably inflict unnecessary harm on innocent people.
We are living in a world where the above list is nothing less than the announcement of an Inquisition Policy in the United States Military.
On behalf of AVfM, I am using this opportunity to appeal to any of our retired/former military readers, preferably of higher ranks, to write an analysis of what they see here, including the implications for military justice, for the pages of AVfM.
If what you see here concerns you, and you served in the United States Military, we invite you to help us bring awareness to the public of what this kind of policy will actually look like on the ground. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you in advance to those who consider helping with this mission, and as always, thank you for your service.