The Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) provides a template for federal advisory committees, which are groups that provide advice and input to the federal government. Two such committees are the Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel (RSP) (CAAFlog page) and the Judicial Proceedings Panel (JPP) (CAAFlog page), both of which were mandated by the FY13 NDAA (discussed here).

The Military Justice Review Group (MJRG) (CAAFlog page), in contrast, is an internal DoD working group. Unlike FACA committees, the MJRG’s meetings and recommendations are not open to the public.

There is now a third FACA committee in this group: the Defense Advisory Committee on Investigation, Prosecution, and Defense of Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces (DAC-IPAD) (CAAFlog page).

The DAC-IPAD released its initial report on March 30th (available here). The report is largely a blueprint for how the committee will work, beginning with its purpose:

The authorizing legislation charges the Committee to execute three tasks over its five-year term:

1. To advise the Secretary of Defense on the investigation, prosecution, and defense of allegations of rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault, and other sexual misconduct involving members of the Armed Forces;

2. To review, on an ongoing basis, cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct for purposes of providing advice to the Secretary of Defense; and

3. To submit an annual report to the Secretary of Defense and to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate and the House of Representatives no later than March 30 of each year.

Report at 1. At the end of the report is the following paragraph outlining the anticipated scope of its review:

The members discussed the scope of the Committee’s mission, but the Committee has not yet determined what aspects of sexual misconduct and what types of cases it will examine. Some on the Committee did express interest in looking at cases involving children, but they recognized the substantial privacy concerns that must be considered. The Committee agreed it initially would concentrate exclusively on adult cases. The Committee chair expressed a primary interest in focusing on “how we can keep people in the Service without being sexually assaulted.”

Report at 18.

17 Responses to “A third FACA committee to review military justice”

  1. k fischer says:

    Compensation and Travel

    Advisory committee members who are not employees or officers of the federal government may or may not receive compensation for their work on a committee. The authority that establishes the committee determines whether committee members are to receive pay, and—if they are paid—their pay level. Pursuant to FACA, neither committee members nor staff may be paid more than the equivalent of Executive Level IV pay ($160,300 for 2016), unless otherwise directed by statute. In addition to compensation for their service, committee members and staff may also be provided compensation to cover travel expenses as well as a per diem.56 Congress may choose to maintain the pay caps set by FACA or establish unique pay rates for a particular advisory committee. Congress may also choose to prohibit advisory committee members from receiving a salary for their service. These members could still receive payment for travel expenses and a per diem.

    $160k + per diem available to be on a FACA?  I’d be interested in seeing the compensation provided to the participants. 

  2. stewie says:

    Easiest answers to reduce sex assault?
    1. No passes for trainees.
    2. Get rid of Class XIs, and stop the glorification of drinking in military culture.

  3. Ed says:

    Why don’t they start with the Brandon Wright Case.

  4. Bill Cassara says:

    Stewie: I was a member of the Joint Response Committee.  All of the minutes are available on line. I made these suggestions. I was accused by some of “victim blaming.”  There was little interest.

  5. stewie says:

    I have no doubt Bill…but it nevertheless is the truth, and it’s not remotely victim blaming, it’s recognizing the role of alcohol and youth in sex assaults…remove those two elements and I bet you slice off 50% of incidents.

  6. Bill Cassara says:

    Absolutely. It is no more “victim blaming” than telling someone not to park their BMW on a dark street late at night with the keys in it and the doors unlocked. It is a sensible measure to prevent crime. 

  7. Lieber says:

    I just took a look at the list of members.  There are some infamous folks in MJ on that panel. 

  8. Big Papi says:

    Much like Spinal Tap’s amps, Stewie’s liquor stores go to eleven…

  9. Luv Dat Likka says:

    Can someone link me to the committee members list, minutes, etc.

  10. Zachary D Spilman says:

    It’s all on the committee’s website (the committee’s name in the post is a link – is that not clear?):

  11. DCGoneGalt says:

    I would like to highlight this from the Initial Report: 
    “Drawing on her work with the JPP and the court-martial database it has developed (discussed below), Dr. Spohn advised the committee that when sexual assault charges are preferred, many cases result in acquittals or dismissals.  She added that the JPP database does not include information that would indicate why this is the case.  Dr. Spohn suggested that to investigate this important question, the Committee may wish to take a random sample of cases, focus on specific kinds of disposition, and collect more detailed data, such as whether there was an evidentiary issue or whether the victim refused to participate.”  [p. 10-11]
    It almost seems as if they don’t even consider that the facts of a lot of these cases could be so terrible for the government that panels could be acquitting based off a rational evaluation acting as a matador and ole’ing almost every case to court with a cooperating complainant that isn’t transparently false.
    For Acquittals:  If by “evidentiary issue” you mean the facts of the government case are so weak no rational civilian prosecutor would have recommended going forward absent political/media pressure . . . then yes, there was an evidentiary issue.
    For Dismissals:  All but a handful of the post-referral dismissals I have seen have been because of victim non-participation . . . usually precipitated by an “evidentiary issue” that surfaces.

  12. Zachary D Spilman says:

    I think you’re reading way too much into Dr. Spohn’s actual statement, DCGoneGalt:

    So there are a lot of cases that result in acquittals or dismissals. And there is not really anything in the database that tells you why those cases resulted in the dispositions that they did.

    And so one possible approach might be to take a random sample of cases that resulted in acquittals or dismissals, or whatever kind of disposition one wanted to focus on and really go to the case files and collect more detailed data on those kinds of cases, if it is an evidentiary issue, if the victim refused to cooperate, is the case moving forward, none of that is in the database.

    And so it might be interesting to get that kind of detail on the cases that resulted in specific kinds of dispositions.

    (link to transcript).

  13. DCGone says:

    I don’t.  She said “let’s gather the data to see if the cause is X, Y, or Z.  And based off here reasons X, Y, and Z, it never even seemed to occur that crappy facts/cases seemed to be a factor that could be leading to acquittals.   
    At this point in the game, if anyone things that strong (or even 50/50) cases with cooperative complainants aren’t going forward (with perhaps very few exceptions) then they aren’t living in the current reality of military justice.  They are living in a world that exists only in their own mind.

  14. k fischer says:

    I see some real genius in your trolling, Big Papi, but I can’t say that on here.  I’m afraid everyone on this blog will see right through me, and I just don’t want anyone to know that I’ve fallen for you. 

  15. stewie says:

    Genius seems like a strong word kf…but clearly, they are committed.

  16. k fischer says:

    He’s a Sox fan.  He knows the ancient Roman numeral system, the Army supply class system, that said system only goes to X or 10, and references Nigel’s amp that goes to eleven, instead of ten.  Taken all together, I’d say genius is an understatement.   I’m a pretty smart guy, but it took a few seconds for me to understand what he was talking about.

  17. Friend of FACA says:

    Per their charter, the DAC-IPAD Committee members serve without compensation except for reimbursement of official Committee-related travel and per diem. So next time you see a member of the DAC-IPAD, say thanks!