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.