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Assistant Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said the Pentagon would take action on a commission’s recommendations on sexual assault and harassment in the military “as soon as possible.”

“We will make the fundamental investments necessary to support sexual assault accountability, prevention programs, healthy command climates and quality victim care,” Hicks said at a press conference Wednesday. “To this day, sexual harassment and sexual assault remain serious problems in our force, with deadly consequences for our military personnel and detrimental effects on our combat readiness. “

An independent review board made 82 recommendations in June to address the issue of sexual assault and harassment in the military.

Hicks said the Pentagon will have an “implementation roadmap,” which will include the formation of a full-time sexual assault prevention team that will include response coordinators and victim advocate positions.

A major change in the way the military deals with cases of sexual assault and harassment will be to remove prosecutorial authority in such cases from the military chain of command, instead of allowing commanders to decide only whether a case may or may not go to trial.

“Commanders are not lawyers and they do not receive adequate training regarding victimization, implicit bias and the impact of these concepts on the administration of justice,” the report said.

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This change was one of the most debated issues in the commission’s findings, leading some leaders to question the wisdom of giving commanders less authority over units under their command.

Other changes recommended by the commission, such as revisions to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, may take longer to implement as they will require congressional approval.


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