President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday to change how the military handles sexual assault cases.
The executive order transfers authority from military commanders to independent military prosecutors in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, murder and other serious offenses by changing the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The changes were passed by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
“The historic reforms announced today will better protect victims and ensure prosecutorial decisions are fully independent from the chain of the command,” according to the White House.
The Offices of Special Trial Counsel will take over the authority for prosecutorial decisions for covered offenses including sexual assault and domestic violence at the end of 2023. Beginning Jan. 1, 2025, special trial counsel prosecutorial authority will expand to include sexual harassment cases, according to the White House statement.