Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley stated he’s open to the thought of changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and eradicating the chain of command from involvement in investigations.

“The issue of sexual assault has plagued our military for quite a while. Sexual assault is a felony, it’s a crime, it’s horrific, but in the military it’s even more than that,” Milley stated in an interview with NCS and The Associated Press. “In the military, it attacks the very essence of readiness, combat effectiveness, combat power, because it rips apart at the good order and discipline and the cohesion of a military unit.”

Milley’s feedback come as an Independent Review Commission, created by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, carries out an urgent 90-day review of the Pentagon’s insurance policies and procedures on sexual assault. In his first feedback on sexual assault since the starting of the fee’s work, Milley threw his weight behind the exterior effort. The fee’s initial set of recommendations included eradicating the chain of command from investigations and instantly starting the means of discharging a service member from the military if an accusation is deemed credible.

“The Independent Review Commission is providing a fresh set of eyes, which we need. We want that. And personally, as the Chairman, I’m very open to all of the ideas to include changing the UCMJ,” he stated on a flight again from Hawaii, the place he attended a change of command ceremony for US Indo-Pacific Command.

Until now, Milley has opposed such changes, insisting that sexual assault is a management challenge and desires to be dealt with inside the chain of command. But after seeing a number of makes an attempt fail to successfully scale back or finish sexual assault inside the ranks, Milley has dropped his opposition.

“I’m one of the guys who used to argue against that, but we have a problem, a big problem,” Milley stated. “I haven’t seen the needle move, and people like me have repeatedly, over and over and over again, said, ‘Leadership, leadership, leadership,’ and we’ve tried all kinds of systems over the last years and the needle hasn’t moved.”

Pentagon review panel recommends taking sexual assault investigations out of commanders' handsPentagon review panel recommends taking sexual assault investigations out of commanders' hands

During his affirmation listening to in July 2019, Milley pushed again on the suggestion of eradicating the chain of command from the investigation of sexual assault. In written responses to policy questions, Milley wrote, “Commanders must retain the ability to hold all Service members in their formation accountable for their actions. Commanders are responsible for the good order and discipline of their units and removing their authority will undermine this long-standing principle.”

But the downside has grown past present insurance policies and procedures, he says, probably requiring major policy changes to successfully scale back the variety of sexual assaults that happen every year in the armed forces. A Defense Department survey estimated there have been greater than 20,000 sexual assaults in the military in 2018, at the same time as the variety of sexual assaults reported to the military was a fraction of that.

“If we had 20,000 casualties in Afghanistan last year or 20,000 casualties in Iraq, we’d be taking some pretty radical actions to correct that,” Milley confused. “And these are casualties. These are casualties blue-on-blue. They’re inflicted by ourselves on ourselves. And it cannot be tolerated.”


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