The Joint Travel Regulations (JTR) (formerly the JFTR) (available here) authorize reimbursement for travel performed on behalf of the Government, including travel to testify at a court-martial. See JTR, Appendix E1. Such reimbursement may include travel by an escort or attendant who accompanies the primary traveler when the traveler is, generally, “incapable of traveling alone.” JTR ¶ 7170 A.1.
But the Department of Defense recently expanded the circumstances where an escort or attendant is authorized to include any travel performed by:
a sexual assault victim who must travel to testify or participate (e.g., as a witness at a court martial or Article 32 hearing, pre-trial interviews, other hearing or panel (including Congressional)) in connection with the sexual assault.
The policy memorandum is available here.
I think the necessity and wisdom of this policy is dubious. My read of the pre-existing policy is that it allowed an authorizing official to determine that the traveler (including an alleged victim) cannot travel alone, and then authorize an escort or attendant. But the new policy singles out a sexual assault victim (without defining the term) for special treatment, and it does so in an incredibly broad range of circumstances.
So, for example, a person who alleges that a service member slapped their buttocks with the intent to humiliate them (a sexual contact as defined by Article 120(g)(2)(A)) “is authorized an escort or attendant” under the new policy without a showing of need. In contrast, a person who is the victim of an attempted murder by a service member, or the surviving family members of a murder victim’s family, must demonstrate need to justify not traveling alone.
There is a growing chorus of voices describing the military sexual assault response system as a victim-producing industry. I think this new policy lends support to those claims. For that reason, I think the new policy unwise.