Some reforms have been instituted, but while they are laudable, problems persist. Advocates for survivors as well as some military experts say the fundamental issue lies with granting commanding officers, who have an inherent conflict of interest, the authority to investigate and prosecute wrongdoers. Legislation that would provide for investigation by independent units with special training has been championed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), but despite bipartisan, majority support it has twice failed to overcome filibusters backed by fierce lobbying from the Pentagon.
During the campaign, President-elect Joe Biden voiced support for possible changes in the military justice system relating to non-military crimes such as rape. One of the first steps he should take as commander in chief is initiating this desperately needed reform.