WASHINGTON — Earlier this week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order making sexual harassment a punishable offense in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a step taken in line with the requirements of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). While this is an important first step towards justice and equity, there is still a long way to go to address sexual harassment in the U.S. military.
Common Defense Executive Director Jose Vasquez released the following statement:
“President Biden’s executive order begins a long-awaited and necessary process to reform the military justice system. Sexual harassment and assault have long been a serious issue in the U.S. military, and we are relieved to see the administration finally taking action to address it.
“While the executive order is an important step forward, it is not nearly enough on its own. Even with the other changes instituted by the NDAA, there is still a lot of work to do to implement necessary and crucial protections for service members and build a military justice system that actually serves justice. Service members and veterans deserve full reparations and justice for past harms as well as robust protection strategies to prevent future harm, which requires the passage of comprehensive legislation like the kind proposed by Senator Kirsten Gilibrand, the Military Justice Improvement and Increasing Prevention Act (MJIIPA).
“The MJIIPA would help create long-term, real solutions to the serious concerns we’ve encountered when the military prosecutes sexual assault itself. We applaud Sen. Gillibrand’s bipartisan effort to pass this legislation into law and will continue working with other elected officials to ensure this legislation becomes law.”