Brent Scowcroft Center Nonresident Senior Fellow James Joyner cowrites for The Hill on why leaders must be cautious when discussing the issue of military sexual assault:
The appeals court for the Navy and Marine Corps recently threw out the conviction of a Marine staff sergeant for sexual assault on the basis of unlawful command influence (UCI) from the commandant of the Marine Corps. This follows multiple rulings over the past year or so mitigating charges against service members on the basis of UCI from President Obama.
Readers unfamiliar with the customs of military service might understandably be confused, even outraged, by the notion that senior leaders exhorting members of the armed forces to “fix” a culture too tolerant of sexual assault could be prejudicial to service members’ due process rights, particularly to a fair and impartial panel of jurors, or “members” in military parlance. After all, demanding better performance in areas where shortfalls are observed is a hallmark of good leadership.