President Biden signed an executive order on Jan. 26 that makes sexual harassment an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and strengthens the military’s response to domestic violence and the wrongful distribution of intimate images. Prior to the order, there was no charge for sexual harassment under military law; instead, it was prosecuted under various sections of the UCMJ. Biden’s executive order follows the Fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which mandated that Biden make sexual harassment its own offense under Article 134 of the UCMJ.
You can read the executive order here or below:
Executive Order on 2022 Amendments to the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. 801-946a), and in order to prescribe amendments to the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States, prescribed by Executive Order 12473 of April 13, 1984, as amended, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Parts II and IV of the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States, are amended as described in the Annex attached to and made a part of this order.
Sec. 2. These amendments shall take effect as of the date of this order, subject to the following:
(a) Nothing in these amendments shall be construed to make punishable any act done or omitted prior to the date of this order that was not punishable when done or omitted.
(b) Nothing in these amendments shall be construed to invalidate any nonjudicial punishment proceeding, restraint, investigation, referral of charges, trial in which arraignment occurred, or other action begun prior to the date of this order, and any such nonjudicial punishment, restraint, investigation, referral of charges, trial, or other action may proceed in the same manner and with the same effect as if these amendments had not been prescribed.
JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 26, 2022.