Military Justice Improvement Act : A Sensible Reform

Decent Essays

10 Moberg The Military Justice Improvement Act: A Sensible Reform Captain David K. Moberg, USMC Expeditionary Warfare School Conference Group 16 Major David Frank 3 February 2017 The scourge of sexual assault hangs over the reputation and combat effectiveness of the United States (U.S.) military. Marine Corps policy states that sexual assault is ?completely incompatible with our core values of honor, courage, and commitment.?[endnoteRef:1] Despite this stance and incremental legislative and recent administrative changes, an overzealous deference to traditional chain of command involvement continues to produce inadequate results. A perceived widespread culture of reprisal and ?circling the wagons? discourages …show more content…

Department of Defense, Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the U.S. Military, Fiscal Year 2014. (Washington DC: GPO, 2015), 9.] [4: Rosemarie Skaine, Sexual Assault in the U.S. Military (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2016), 3, 9-10.] Currently, when a sexual assault allegation is made, decision making authority on how to proceed (no action/dismiss, dispose of charges, refer to higher authority, etc.), known as the Sexual Assault Initial Disposition Authority (SA-IDA), rests with the first O-6 Commanding Officer (CO) with Special Courts Martial Convening Authority (SPCMCA) in the immediate chain of command.[endnoteRef:5] The SPCMA refers sexual assault charges to a General Courts Martial Convening Authority (GCMCA) as the venue for prosecution, which if successful, leads to a mandatory dishonorable discharge or dismissal.[endnoteRef:6] The MJIA would remove the chain of command altogether from the process, replacing the authority with a disinterested, independent O-6 ?available for detail as a trial counsel, [with] significant experience in trials by general or special courts martial, and [who is] outside the chain of command of the member subject to such charges? (as well as the alleged victim).[endnoteRef:7] This legislative change would apply to sexual assault as

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