The Defense Department Inspector General plans to evaluate whether the Military Criminal Investigative Organization is properly investigating sexual assault complaints, according to the DODIG monthly update, released Jan. 1. “The evaluation scope will consider sexual assault investigations with adult victims closed in 2013,” states a Dec. 20 letter from James Pavlik, assistant inspector general for investigative policy and oversight, to the commanders of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, US Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Senior Defense Department leaders, including Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, have repeatedly said that curbing sexual assaults in the military remains a top priority. The issue also has garnered a lot of attention on Capitol Hill, following several high profile cases in which a convening authority overturned a military jury’s sexual assault conviction. Several members of Congress now are calling for a change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice that could take such an authority away from commanders. (See also An Air Force War on Sexual Assaults from the January 2012 edition of Air Force Magazine)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.