The top military commanders in the Pentagon have argued that reforming the military justice system as proposed would undermine good order and discipline. This is exactly the same argument that was originally made to oppose ending "don't ask don't tell."
The insufficiency of this catch phrase as justification for opposing policy changes on issues of critical importance to our nation sound eerily familiar to those of us involved in previous efforts to change military policies.
By removing the power of the "convening authority" from commanding generals any appearance of impropriety on the part of a commander is eliminated. Claims of undue command influence in the legal system would stop.
Like the checks and balances that are currently in place for civilians, all we are asking for is the same. While civilians have various routes of redress to get justice for the crime perpetrated against them, service members are too often dependent on one person's individual discretion.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 22-33 percent of female service members are assaulted while in the service. We need our elected leaders to take action in 2013 to fix our broken system of military justice.
Private Danny Chen was found dead in 2011 in a guard tower after weeks of physical abuse and unrelenting racial taunts by superiors. Can military courts deliver justice to a subordinate hazed by his superiors?