Post edited to reflect the actual text of the memo, instead of the DoD press release.
In a memo dated August 14, 2013, the Secretary of Defense announced seven new initiatives dealing with sexual assault cases “to improve victim support, strengthen pretrial investigations, enhance oversight, and make prevention and response efforts more consistent across the military services”:
Improving Victim Legal Support: Secretaries of the Military Departments shall establish a special victim’s advocacy program best suited for that Service that provides legal advice and representation to the victim throughout the justice process. Each Service will identify and periodically share best practices, and will establish an initial operating capability not later than November 1, 20 13, and a fully established program by January 1,20 14.
Expanding Victim Rights: General Counsel shall develop draft language for an Executive Order to amend the Manual for Courts Martial to provide victims of crime the opportunity to provide input to the post-trial action phase of courts-martial. Deliver your proposal to me not later than October 15,2013.
Enhancing Protections: Secretaries of the Military Departments shall develop and implement policy allowing the administrative reassiglU11ent or transfer of a member who is accused of committing a sexual assault or related offense, balancing interests of the victim and accused. Implement this provision not later than January 1, 2014.
Standardizing Protections: Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness shall ensure current policies prohibiting inappropriate relations between trainers and trainees and recruiters and recruits are consistent across the Services. Report your findings to me not later than November 1, 2013
Elevating Oversight: Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness shall develop policy, standardized across all the Services, that requires status reports of unrestricted sexual assault allegations and actions taken to the first general/flag officer within the chain of command, without delaying reporting to the relevant military criminal investigation organization. Implement this policy not later than November 1, 2013.
Enhancing Pretrial Investigations: Secretaries of the Military Departments shall mandate that judge advocates serve as investigating officers for all Article 32 hearings on sexual assault offense charges. Implement this policy not later than December 1, 2013.
Ensuring Investigative Quality: I am requesting that the Department of Defense Inspector General plan to evaluate the adequacy of closed sexual assault investigations on a recurring basis. Respond to this request within 30 days.
None of these seem particularly earth-shattering except the first, which will cause each of the services to establish a program like the Air Force special victims counsel program that brought us this term’s decision in LRM v. Kastenberg, No. 13-5006/AF, (opinion) (CAAFlog case page).