We greatly appreciate those of you who have engaged in our conversations these past several months on the critical importance of eliminating sexual assault in the military, and the work of the 90-Day Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military (IRC).
Today, the IRC’s final report and recommendations to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin have been released to the public. I have attached that document to this email and it will be published soon on the Department of Defense website at: https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/
The IRC report and recommendations were provided to the Secretary on June 21, 2021. Subsequently, in consultation with the President, the Secretary is taking action to implement the IRC’s recommendations. The Secretary directed his staff to begin work to standardize non-judicial punishment across the military services, establish a separation process for service members with substantiated sexual harassment claims, and professionalize careers for lawyers and investigators in sexual assault and sexual harassment cases. The Secretary also directed his staff to study how best to implement military protective orders to improve off-base enforcement and mandatory restitution for victims. Further, he directed the Deputy Secretary to work with the Military Departments to assess the IRC’s recommendations and develop an implementation strategy, and will continue to work with the President and Congress to amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice to make necessary reforms to the prosecution of sexual assaults and related crimes, domestic abuse, child abuse, and retaliation. The Secretary briefed the President on the outcomes and recommendations of the Commission, and the President served as the ultimate approval authority for the Commission’s recommendations. As the Secretary has stated, solving this problem requires greater accountability and changes to our approach on prevention, command climate, and victim services.
For your reference, I also have attached Secretary Austin’s directive memorandum to Department leaders on actions and implementation guidance to address sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military. That document will also be available soon on the DoD website at https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/.
At 2:00 p.m. EDT today, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense(Public Affairs) John Kirby will brief the Pentagon press corps about this and other important defense topics, and will be joined for a portion of the briefing by IRC Chair Ms. Lynn Rosenthal. This briefing will be streamed on the DoD website at: https://www.defense.gov/Watch/Live-Events/. It will also be available on the DoD Facebook and Twitter pages at: https://www.facebook.com/DeptofDefense/ and https://twitter.com/DeptofDefense. Following the event, a transcript will be available at https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Transcripts/ and the video may be viewed on demand at: https://www.dvidshub.net/.