Senior general says he no longer opposes proposal to change sexual assault prosecution
Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior military adviser to the president, said Monday he was now open to a proposal that would take decisions on sexual assault prosecutions out of the hands of commanders, reports the AP. The lack of response to sexual assault has harassed the military for years and has become a national problem after Vanessa Guillén’s death last year. Milley’s comments will likely add weight to the call for change. Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic information with Axios Markets. What it says: The proposed changes to Milley were recommended by an independent review committee. Although he did not approve of them, he said the military’s problems surrounding sexual assault had persisted for too long. “We’ve been there for years and we haven’t actually moved the needle,” he said. “We must. We must.” Part of his change of opinion is due to the junior military’s lack of confidence in the fairness of the outcome of sexual assault cases, he said, although he noted he was reserving the final judgment. until the military leadership considered “It is really bad for our military if it is true, and the investigation and the evidence indicates that it is true,” he said. “It is a very bad situation if the enlisted force – the junior enlisted force – lacks confidence in its chain of command to be able to deal effectively with the issue of sexual assault.” Overview: The commission presented its initial recommendations to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin last month. He is expected to give department heads about a month to review and respond, per AP. Decide whether to charge someone and whether that charge should go to court martial, the panel said. More than 20,000 service members said they suffered some type of sexual assault in 2018, according to AP. Only a third of these members have filed an official report. Like this article? Get more Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.