Biden to sign executive order making sexual harassment in the military an official offense

President Joe Biden is expected to sign an executive order regarding sexual harassment in the military that would make it an official offense under the military’s justice system.  

According to The Washington Times, the order would include several types of harassment, including sharing explicit photographs of other service members without their permission.

According to The Military Times, further details about the violations have not yet been disclosed, but sexual harassment would become part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice come with a hefty penalty. 

“Congress recently approved sweeping changes to the legal process of how sexual misconduct crimes are prosecuted in the military, following years of complaints that commanders haven’t adequately addressed the issue,” the Washington Times reported.

“But some say the reforms did not go far enough to protect victims and remove cases from the traditional chain of command.”

Changes to the way misconduct is treated began in August 2020 following the killing of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, a soldier who was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and was slain by another soldier. 

“Rather than being handled through the military chain of command, such cases will now fall under a team of independent military prosecutors under the new changes to the system,” the Times reported. 

There has been widespread support for the changes, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin who has long supported taking sexual harassment and related crimes away from the jurisdiction of the chain of command and putting it in the hands of independent military lawyers.

Some military officers, however, are not so thrilled, calling for plans like that of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat, who wants to remove almost all the felony crimes from military oversight and have the provision dropped from the major defense authorization law signed by Mr. Biden late last year.