The initial report makes eleven recommendations:
- The Secretary of Defense examine the DoD and interagency review process for establishing guidance for implementing statutory provisions of the UCMJ and explore options to streamline the procedures.
- The Secretary of Defense direct the Services to implement additional selection criteria requiring that judge advocates have adequate criminal justice experience before they are assigned as special victims’ counsel.
- The Department of Defense develop a policy to standardize both the time frame within which to receive SVC training and the substantive requirements of SVC training.
- The Secretary of Defense direct the Services to perform regular evaluations to ensure SVCs’ assignment to locations that maximize the opportunity for face-to-face interactions between SVCs and clients, and to develop effective means for SVCs to communicate with clients when face-to-face communication is not possible.
- The Secretary of Defense establish appropriate SVC program performance measures and standards, including evaluating, monitoring, and reporting on the SVC programs; establishing guiding principles for the Services; and ensuring centralized, standardized assessment of SVC program effectiveness and client satisfaction.
- The Secretary of Defense direct the Services to ensure SVCs and victims have appropriate access to docketing information and case filings. In part, this could be accomplished by adopting an electronic system akin to the civilian PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) service.
- The Secretary of Defense direct the Services to establish uniform practices and procedures concerning SVCs’ participation for all military judicial proceedings.
- The Secretary of Defense consider establishing expedited procedures for victims to seek mandatory interlocutory review in the Service Courts of Criminal Appeals of any alleged violation of victims’ rights.
- The Secretary of Defense propose timely revisions to statutes, the MCM, and/or regulations to extend eligibility for SVC representation so long as a right of the victim exists and is at issue.
- The President sign an executive order eliminating the “constitutionally required” exception within M.R.E. 412 at Article 32 hearings.
- The Secretary of Defense issue specific, uniform guidance to ensure that mental health records are neither sought from a medical treatment facility by investigators or military justice practitioners nor acknowledged or released by medical treatment facility personnel until a military judge or Article 32 hearing officer has ordered their production.
The report also recommends additional study of two areas related to Article 120: “Issues Related to Definitions and Elements” and “Issues Related to Coercive Sexual Relationships and Abuse of Authority.”