U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for the last decade has called for changes in how the U.S. armed forces investgiate and prosecute sexual assault cases, arguing it should be done outside of the chain of command.
For years, the change has faced resistance within the military. On Monday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley told the Associated Press he was droppping his opposition.
Gillibrand called the development a significant one for the military after years of reluctance to make changes to how such cases are prosecuted.
“It is deeply significant that General Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has dropped his opposition to removing decisions about prosecuting sexual assault and other serious crimes from the chain of command," she said. "Milley’s new position is one more sign that long overdue change — which will provide justice for survivors — is coming to our military justice system."
The change comes as former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen also dropped his opposition to ending the chain of command for military sexual assault cases.
Gillibrand has called for changes and legislation to address sexual assault in the military as more women have entered the armed forces in the last generation.
Earlier this year, Gillibrand wrote a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to remove sexual assault cases from the chain of command.
Biden at the beginning of the year created a 90-day panel to review sexual assault cases in the military and how to prevent them, as well to study how prosecutions are conducted.