From the Mekong Delta to the Korengal Valley, and every battle in between, the M16 family of rifles has performed valiantly in the hands of American soldiers for decades. But as the poet Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a changin’.”
On Wednesday, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno gave his final press conference as he prepares to step down from his position and retire after 39 years of service. During his tenure, Odierno faced budget challenges, troop reductions, the end of the war in Afghanistan and the rise of ISIS, as well as pressure to a modernize the Army.
Senior officers from all military branches have insisted that military commanders must have absolute authority over all crimes committed by service members. This has come on the heels of legislative proposals, spearheaded by democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, to strip military commanders of the power to prosecute crimes, most notably sexual assaults, as a result of the ever-increasing number of sexual assaults in the military. According to senior military officers, it is absolutely necessary for military commanders to have authority to prosecute service members for all crimes that they commit. But, in practice, this is not the case.