Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Armed Services Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding President Biden’s executive order implementing historic military justice reforms passed in the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act:
“I am grateful that we have a commander in chief who recognizes the importance of reforming and professionalizing our military justice system. President Biden’s executive order will give final approval to removing judicial functions and prosecutorial decisions regarding the most serious crimes from the chain of command and putting them in the hands of independent, trained professionals. While it will take time to see the results of these changes, these measures will instill more trust, professionalism, and confidence in the system. I want to thank the survivors, advocates and veterans for their efforts, as well as my colleagues on both sides of the aisle who helped get this done.”
The FY23 NDAA stripped commanders of all remaining judicial functions and prosecutorial duties for covered offenses, including sexual assault. Full background on the changes and timeline can be found here.
For nearly a decade, Gillibrand fought alongside survivors, veterans and legal experts to make this fundamental change and give these powers to trained, professional military prosecutors. This bipartisan reform was supported by leading veterans service organizations and advocacy groups, including VFW, IAVA, the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Protect Our Defenders, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, SWAN, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Common Defense, and Veterans Recovery Project.