Defense Department officials are scrambling to meet [President Barack] Obama’s Dec. 1 deadline to show progress in addressing sexual assault throughout the ranks, otherwise, he could revoke a commander’s powerful role in the Pentagon’s unique justice system - which though amended significantly late last year, still remains rooted in a World War II mindset. They’re churning out data and reports to demonstrate how a couple years’ worth of new policies have made it easier for victims to step forward and report crimes. Legal and policy experts chartered by the Pentagon also face their own tight schedules to produce analysis and suggestions for Obama.
Bird-dogging everything is Congress, which this month starts crafting the next annual defense authorization bill and where one of the Pentagon’s biggest critics, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, is itching for another battle to shake up the military justice system.Sen. Gillibrand says, “We’re going to keep offering reform, reform, reform,” but
acknowledging she doesn’t have enough support in the full committee on her chain of command language [that would shift convening authorities' disposition power to independent military prosecutors], Gillibrand said she’d wait until later this year to force another vote once the entire defense bill hits the floor.