Domestic violence will officially become a separate crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice when President Donald Trump signs the annual defense authorization act into law next week.
Military officials have prosecuted such crimes in the past, but under more general justice categories such as assault. They carry severe penalties including jail time and dismissal from the armed forces. But analysts say that doesn’t always convey the seriousness of the offense.
The change was included in the massive military policy measure after outside advocates noted the lack of domestic violence as a specific crime under military law has ramifications for how outside law enforcement can keep track of those troops after they leave the ranks.