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Photo: Samuel Corum/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday he supports the U.S. military removing sexual harassment and assault cases from the chain of command and instead creating "highly specialized units to handle these cases and related crimes."

The big picture: The reorganization comes amid growing criticism on Capitol Hill over the military's ineffectiveness at preventing incidences of sexual assault and harassment in the ranks, which have more than doubled in the past decade, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Driving the news: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last month that he supports changes to the military justice system for sexual assault cases.

  • The Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault (IRC) on Friday published 28 recommendations and 54 sub-recommendations, including equipping leaders with data, people, resources, policy and tools to stop sexual assault and the development of a prevention workforce, according to senior administration officials.

What he's saying: "I strongly support Secretary Austin’s announcement that he is accepting the core recommendations put forward by the ... [IRC], including removing the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault from the chain of command and creating highly specialized units to handle these cases and related crimes," Biden said in a statement.

  • "We need concrete actions that fundamentally change the way we handle military sexual assault and that make it clear that these crimes will not be minimized or dismissed."
  • "We will also prioritize effective prevention strategies; promote safe, healthy, and respectful climates; and improve services to address the trauma that sexual assault victims experience and to facilitate their healing and recovery."

Worth noting: "Biden's decision could take until 2023 to implement, and his Democratic administration stopped short of endorsing legislation by the leading advocate of the change in the Senate, Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, whose bill would also make broader military justice reforms," Reuters writes.

Go deeper

U.S. Soccer hires Sally Yates to investigate NWSL sexual abuse reports

Former acting U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates in the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates will lead an investigation into "allegations of abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in women's professional soccer," effective "immediately," the sport's U.S. governing body announced Sunday.

Of note: The National Women’s Soccer League said Sunday it hired an outside law firm to investigate the widespread reports of NWSL players being subjected to harassment and abuse, often by male coaches.

Updated 34 mins ago - Technology

Pandemic gave cover to online dating scams

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Crooked Casanovas used online dating scams to steal an estimated $500 million from lonely victims last year, according to a new analysis of government fraud data by Atlas VPN, an internet security provider.

Why it matters: The isolation of the lingering pandemic provided cover to fraudulent suitors who had an excuse for not meeting up in person even as they fleeced their would-be lovers out of gift cards, money — even cryptocurrency.

Updated 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — New York Supreme Court grants stay for indoor mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker