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Recent changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice = Important impacts on Court Martial Procedures

On January 26, 2022, President Biden signed an Executive Order to amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which is key to advancing the reform he signed into law through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 included these important changes for Military Law:

  • Requires the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard to appoint special victim prosecutors.
  • Requires that a formal complaint alleging sexual harassment committed by a service member against another service member be investigated by an independent investigator.

The Executive Order President Biden signed establishes sexual harassment as a specific offense under the UCMJ. It also strengthens the military justice response in prosecuting cases of domestic violence, gender-based violence, and fully implements changes to the military justice code to criminalize the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images.

This Executive Order reaffirms the law President Biden signed as part of the NDAA, which includes the historic shift of legal decisions from commanders to independent, specialized prosecutors in cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, and other serious crimes.