The Department of Justice on Wednesday presented the Air Force’s Special Victims’ Counsel Program with the federal service award for providing its pro bono efforts on behalf of military sexual assault victims. The program has provided free legal representation and guidance to 787 sexual assault victims. “Through their courage and critical contributions to assist and empower victims, these individuals and organizations have given hope to countless Americans victimized by crime—even under the most difficult circumstances,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in an April 9 DOJ release. “I am proud to recognize these extraordinary advocates by celebrating their achievements and assure them that the Department of Justice is more determined than ever to help ensure their continued success.” The program also trains Air Force lawyers tasked with advising victims through the criminal justice system and Judge Advocate Generals representing victims in other services. (See also More Help for Sexual Assault Victims.)
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.