The Pentagon announced the implementation of a new sexual assault and domestic violence response plan in the military. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks announced the plan on Wednesday, which includes proposing changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and will remove the investigation of sexual assault and domestic violence from the chain of command.
The Pentagon faces questions about the treatment and conditions for Afghan refugees at U.S. military bases. On Wednesday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the Department of Defense is aware of cases in which refugees are in need of food and clothing.
Lawmakers are threatening to subpoena Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin after he failed to attend a Senate hearing regarding the Afghanistan withdrawal on Tuesday. Austin claimed due to a “scheduling conflict” he was unable to make it.
Defense officials fear the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan could allow terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda to rebuild in the country.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said there was no question identifying terror threats would become more difficult with U.S. troops no longer in Afghanistan. During a press conference in Qatar on Tuesday, Austin said the U.S. would now have to rely more heavily on its technological capabilities to identify and engage threats that develop in the region.