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American Military Justice: Retaining the Commander’s Authority to Enforce Discipline and Justice

  • Author(s):
  • Professor David A. Schlueter
  • Associate Dean Lisa M. Schenck

This white paper recommends that Congress reject proposals that would remove a commander’s prosecutorial discretion and instead place it in the hands of senior armed forces lawyers.

There are currently two proposed legislative provisions that would adversely affect the commander’s prosecutorial discretion and undermine the commander’s ability to enforce good order and discipline. The first proposed provision was included in Section 540F of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, where Congress mandated that the Department of Defense report to the congressional armed services committees on the feasibility of creating a pilot program that would remove a commander’s authority to prefer, and refer to trial, court-martial charges for serious offenses and instead place that authority in the hands of senior armed forces lawyers. As we finalize this White Paper, the Department of Defense has not yet released that report.

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Format:
  • White Paper
Topics:
Website:Visit Publisher Website
Publisher:The George Washington University Law School
Published:July 1, 2020
License:Public Domain

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