Commanders Key to Solving Military Sexual Assault

Cully Stimson /

A key Obama Administration committee of experts recommends that military commanders should retain the authority to refer sex assault cases to court-martial.

The Response Systems Panel subcommittee’s findings complement and add further support for our same conclusion in our Special Report entitled “Sexual Assault in the Military: Understanding the Problem and How to Fix It.”

We found that removing authority to convene courts-martial from commanders would:

We also demonstrated why removing commanders as convening authorities would not reduce the number of sexual assaults or increase sexual assault reporting:

The Obama subcommittee found that removing authority to convene courts-martial from senior commanders would not:

Similarly, the subcommittee found that:

The subcommittee concluded:

Commanders must play a central role in preventing sexual assault by establishing command climates that ensure subordinates are trained in and embrace their moral and legal obligations, and by emphasizing the role of accountability at all levels of the organization.

We previously concluded:

Radically upending the military justice system by removing convening authority power from commanders actually relieves commanders of the responsibility of proper investigation and adjudication of misconduct, which will irreparably harm the military’s ability to enforce good order and discipline.