Military commanders no longer make sexual assault prosecution decisions

US secretary of defense named Lloyd Austin photo

Decision on whether to charge service members with several felonies, including sexual assault, are no longer up to unit commanders – independent offices of special counsel for each brand of the military are up and running, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

The change was mandated by law in 2021 after veterans and victim advocates testified that commanders failed to act on sexual assault reports too often. 

The special counsel offices are staffed with specially trained military prosecutors, as well as militray and civilian support staff. 

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