Uniform Code of Military Justice
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The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ,
10 U.S.C. §§ 801–946
is the foundation of
military law Military justice (also military law) is the legal system (bodies of law and procedure) that governs the conduct of the active-duty personnel of the armed forces of a country. In some nation-states, civil law and military law are distinct bodie ...
in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territorie ...
. It was established by the
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is bicameral, composed of a lower body, the House of Representatives, and an upper body, the Senate. It meets in the U.S. Capitol in Washing ...
in accordance with the authority given by the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. It superseded the Articles of Confederation, the nation's first constitution, in 1789. Originally comprising seven ar ...
in
Article I Article One may refer to: Legal codes * Article One of the United States Constitution, pertaining to the powers of the United States Congress * Article One of the Constitution of India, pertaining to the federal nature of the republic Other us ...
, Section 8, which provides that "The Congress shall have Power....To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces".


History

On June 30, 1775, the Second Continental Congress established 69
Articles of War The Articles of War are a set of regulations drawn up to govern the conduct of a country's military and naval forces. The first known usage of the phrase is in Robert Monro's 1637 work ''His expedition with the worthy Scot's regiment called Mac- ...
to govern the conduct of the Continental Army. Effective upon its ratification in 1788, Article I, Section 8 of the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. It superseded the Articles of Confederation, the nation's first constitution, in 1789. Originally comprising seven ar ...
provided that
Congress A congress is a formal meeting of the representatives of different countries, constituent states, organizations, trade unions, political parties, or other groups. The term originated in Late Middle English to denote an encounter (meeting of ...
has the power to regulate the land and naval forces. On 10 April 1806, the United States Congress enacted 101 Articles of War, which were not significantly revised until over a century later. Discipline in the sea services was provided under the
Articles for the Government of the United States Navy The Articles for the Government of the United States Navy were the military laws of the United States Navy for much of its early history. The Articles were often referred to informally as "Rocks and Shoals", after the language of Article 4, Sect ...
(commonly referred to as ''Rocks and Shoals''). The Articles of War evolved during the first half of the twentieth century and were amended in 1916 and 1920. In 1948, Congress substantially reformed the Articles pursuant to the
Selective Service Act of 1948 The Selective Service Act of 1948, also known as the Elston Act, was a major revision of the Articles of War of the United States enacted June 24, 1948 that established the current implementation of the Selective Service System. History The prev ...
, but its naval counterpart remained little changed. The military justice system continued to operate under the Articles of War and Articles for the Government of the Navy until May 31, 1951, when the Uniform Code of Military Justice came into effect. The UCMJ was passed by Congress on 5 May 1950, and signed into law by President
Harry S. Truman Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States, serving from 1945 to 1953. A leader of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the 34th vice president from January to April 1945 under Franklin ...
the next day. It took effect on May 31, 1951. The word ''uniform'' in the Code's title refers to its consistent application to all the armed services in place of the earlier Articles of War, Articles of Government, and Disciplinary Laws of the individual services. The UCMJ, the Rules for Courts-Martial (the military analogue to the
Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure are the procedural rules that govern how federal criminal prosecutions are conducted in United States district courts and the general trial courts of the U.S. government. They are the companion to the Federa ...
), and the Military Rules of Evidence (the analogue to the
Federal Rules of Evidence First adopted in 1975, the Federal Rules of Evidence codify the evidence law that applies in United States federal courts. In addition, many states in the United States have either adopted the Federal Rules of Evidence, with or without local v ...
) have evolved since their implementation, often paralleling the development of the federal civilian criminal justice system. In some ways, the UCMJ has been ahead of changes in the civilian criminal justice system. For example, a rights-warning statement similar to the ''Miranda'' warnings (and required in more contexts than in the civilian world where it is applicable only to custodial interrogation) was required by Art. 31 () a decade and a half before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in ''
Miranda v. Arizona ''Miranda v. Arizona'', 384 U.S. 436 (1966), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution restricts prosecutors from using a person's statements made in response to ...
''; Article 38(b) ((b)) continued the 1948 Articles of War guarantee that qualified defense counsel be provided to all accused without regard to indigence (and at earlier stages than required in civilian jurisdictions), whereas the U.S. Supreme Court only guaranteed the provision of counsel to indigents in ''
Gideon v. Wainwright ''Gideon v. Wainwright'', 372 U.S. 335 (1963), was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in which the Court ruled that the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires U.S. states to provide attorneys to criminal defendants who are unable ...
''. Additionally, the role of what was originally a court-martial's non-voting "law member" developed into the present office of military judge whose capacity is little different from that of an Article III judge in a U.S. district court. At the same time, the "court-martial" itself (the panel of officers hearing the case and weighing the evidence) has converted from being essentially a board of inquiry/review presiding over the trial, into a jury of military service-members. The current version of the UCMJ is printed in the latest edition of the ''
Manual for Courts-Martial The ''Manual for Courts-Martial'' (''MCM'') is the official guide to the conduct of courts-martial in the United States military. An Executive Order of the President of the United States, the ''MCM'' details and expands on the military law establi ...
'' (2019), incorporating changes made by the President (executive orders) and
National Defense Authorization Act The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the name for each of a series of United States federal laws specifying the annual budget and expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense. The first NDAA was passed in 1961. The U.S. Congress o ...
s of 2006 and 2007.


Jurisdiction


Courts-martial

Courts-martial A court-martial or court martial (plural ''courts-martial'' or ''courts martial'', as "martial" is a postpositive adjective) is a military court or a trial conducted in such a court. A court-martial is empowered to determine the guilt of memb ...
are conducted under the UCMJ and the ''
Manual for Courts-Martial The ''Manual for Courts-Martial'' (''MCM'') is the official guide to the conduct of courts-martial in the United States military. An Executive Order of the President of the United States, the ''MCM'' details and expands on the military law establi ...
'' (MCM). If the trial results in a conviction, the case is reviewed by the
convening authority The term convening authority is used in United States military law to refer to an individual with certain legal powers granted under either the Uniform Code of Military Justice (i.e. the regular military justice system) or the Military Commissions ...
– the commanding officer who referred the case for trial by court-martial. The convening authority has discretion to mitigate the findings and sentence, set aside convictions, and/or to remand convictions and/or sentences back to a court-martial for re-hearing. If the sentence, as approved by the convening authority, includes death, a
bad conduct discharge A military discharge is given when a member of the armed forces is released from their obligation to serve. Each country's military has different types of discharge. They are generally based on whether the persons completed their training and the ...
, a
dishonorable discharge A military discharge is given when a member of the armed forces is released from their obligation to serve. Each country's military has different types of discharge. They are generally based on whether the persons completed their training and the ...
, dismissal of an officer, or confinement for one year or more, the case is reviewed by an intermediate court. There are four such courts – the
Army Court of Criminal Appeals In the United States military, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) is an appellate court that reviews certain court martial convictions of Army personnel. Jurisdiction In the United States, courts-martial are conducted under the Uniform C ...
, the
Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals The Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA) is the intermediate appellate court for criminal convictions in the United States Navy and the Marine Corps. Courts-martial are conducted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Title 1 ...
, the
Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals The Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) is an independent appellate judicial body authorized by Congress and established by the Judge Advocate General of the Air Force pursuant to the exclusive authority under (a). The Court hears and ...
, and the
Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals The Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals (CGCCA) is the intermediate appellate court for criminal convictions in the U.S. Coast Guard. It is located in Washington, DC. The Court was established under Article 66, Uniform Code of Military Justi ...
. After review by any of these intermediate courts, the next level of appeal is the
United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (in case citations, C.A.A.F. or USCAAF) is an Article I court that exercises worldwide appellate jurisdiction over members of the United States Armed Forces on active duty and other pers ...
(CAAF). The Supreme Court of the United States has discretion under to review cases under the UCMJ on direct appeal where the CAAF has conducted a mandatory review (death penalty and certified cases), granted discretionary review of a petition, or otherwise granted relief.Supreme Court Appellate Jurisdiction Over Military Court Cases
by Anna C. Henning, Congressional Research Service, October 6, 2008
If the CAAF denies a
petition for review In some jurisdictions, a petition for review is a formal request for an appellate tribunal to review the decision of a lower court or administrative body. If a jurisdiction utilizes petitions for review, then parties seeking appellate review of th ...
or a writ appeal, consideration by the Supreme Court may be obtained only through collateral review (e.g., a writ of habeas corpus).Appellate Review, CAAF website
(retrieved on October 13, 2008)
Since 2007, several bills have been introduced into Congress to expand the accessibility of service members to the Supreme Court. See also Equal Justice for United States Military Personnel legislation.


Personal jurisdiction

Within the exceptions below, as codified in Article 2 of the UCMJ,
personal jurisdiction Personal jurisdiction is a court's jurisdiction over the ''parties'', as determined by the facts in evidence, which bind the parties to a lawsuit, as opposed to subject-matter jurisdiction, which is jurisdiction over the ''law'' involved in the ...
attaches, regardless of the physical global location of the service member, over all members of the
Uniformed Services of the United States The United States has eight federal uniformed services that commission officers as defined by Title 10 and subsequently structured and organized by Titles 10, 14, 32, 33 and 42 of the U.S. Code. Uniformed services The uniformed services ...
: the
Army An army (from Old French ''armee'', itself derived from the Latin verb ''armāre'', meaning "to arm", and related to the Latin noun ''arma'', meaning "arms" or "weapons"), ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on ...
,
Marine Corps Marines, or naval infantry, are typically a military force trained to operate in littoral zones in support of naval operations. Historically, tasks undertaken by marines have included helping maintain discipline and order aboard the ship (refl ...
,
Navy A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It in ...
,
Air Force An air force – in the broadest sense – is the national military branch that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an ...
,
Space Force A space force is a military branch of a nation's armed forces that conducts military operations in outer space and space warfare. The world's first space force was the Russian Space Forces, established in 1992 as an independent military service. ...
,
Coast Guard A coast guard or coastguard is a maritime security organization of a particular country. The term embraces wide range of responsibilities in different countries, from being a heavily armed military force with customs and security duties to ...
,
NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, known informally as the NOAA Corps, is one of eight federal uniformed services of the United States, and operates under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminis ...
, and
Public Health Service Commissioned Corps The United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (PHSCC), also referred to as the Commissioned Corps of the United States Public Health Service, is the federal uniformed service of the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) and one of the e ...
. While the Coast Guard is administered under Title 14 of the United States Code when not operating as part of the U.S. Navy, individuals commissioned or enlisted in the Coast Guard are subject to the UCMJ as an armed force. However, commissioned members of the
NOAA The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (abbreviated as NOAA ) is an United States scientific and regulatory agency within the United States Department of Commerce that forecasts weather, monitors oceanic and atmospheric conditio ...
and PHS, as
uniformed services Uniformed services is an abstract term that are generally bodies of people in employment of a state who wear a distinct uniform that differentiates them from the public and private sector. Their purpose is to maintain the peace, security, safety, ...
, are only subject to the UCMJ when attached or detailed to a military unit by competent orders, or when militarized by Presidential
executive order In the United States, an executive order is a directive by the president of the United States that manages operations of the federal government. The legal or constitutional basis for executive orders has multiple sources. Article Two of t ...
during a
national emergency A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to be able to put through policies that it would normally not be permitted to do, for the safety and protection of its citizens. A government can declare such a state du ...
or declaration of war. Members of the military Reserve Components under
Title 10 of the United States Code Title 10 of the United States Code outlines the role of armed forces in the United States Code. It provides the legal basis for the roles, missions and organization of each of the services as well as the United States Department of Defense. Ea ...
(
Army Reserve A military reserve force is a military organization whose members have military and civilian occupations. They are not normally kept under arms, and their main role is to be available when their military requires additional manpower. Reserve ...
,
Marine Forces Reserve The Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES or MFR), also known as the United States Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR) and the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve, is the reserve force of the United States Marine Corps. It is the largest command, by assigned pe ...
, Navy Reserve, and Air Force Reserve), or
Title 14 of the United States Code Title 14 of the United States Code is a positive law title of the United States Code concerning the United States Coast Guard. *Subtitle I—Establishment, Powers, Duties, and Administration *Subtitle II—Personnel *Subtitle III—Coast Guard ...
,
Coast Guard Reserve The United States Coast Guard Reserve is the reserve component of the United States Coast Guard. It is organized, trained, administered, and supplied under the direction of the Commandant of the Coast Guard through the Assistant Commandant for R ...
when not operating as part of the U.S. Navy, are subject to the UCMJ when they are: # Full-Time Support (FTS) personnel on active duty orders serving pursuant to the authority of 10 USC 10211 or 10 USC 12310, including: ## Army/Air Force "Active Guard and Reserve (AGR)," ## Navy "Full-time Support (FTS)," ## Marine Corps "Active Reserve (AR)," or ## Coast Guard "Reserve Program Administrators (RPA)." # "Traditional" reservists performing either: ## Full-time active duty service under orders for a specific period, i.e., Annual Training, Active Duty for Training, Active Duty for Operational Support, Active Duty Special Work, Mobilization or Recall to Active Duty, Canvasser Recruiter, etc., or ## Performing part-time Inactive Duty, i.e., Inactive Duty Training, Inactive Duty Travel and Training, Unit Training Assembly, Additional Training Periods, Additional Flying Training Periods, Reserve Management Periods, etc., all of which are colloquially known as "drills." ## Retired Reservists who are either recalled to active duty pursuant to secretarial authority, or who are receiving medical treatment in an armed forces hospital (see below). Soldiers and airmen in the
National Guard of the United States The National Guard is a state-based military force that becomes part of the reserve components of the United States Army and the United States Air Force when activated for federal missions.executive order In the United States, an executive order is a directive by the president of the United States that manages operations of the federal government. The legal or constitutional basis for executive orders has multiple sources. Article Two of t ...
issued by the
President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) * President (education), a leader of a college or university * President (government title) President may also refer to: Automobiles * Nissan President, a 1966–2010 Japanese ...
, or during their annual training periods, which are orders issued under Title 10, during which periods of duty they are federalized into the National Guard of the United States. Otherwise, members of the National Guard are usually exempt from the UCMJ. However, under Title 32 orders, or State Active Duty orders issued directly under State authority, individual members of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard are still subject to their respective state codes of military justice, which often resemble the UCMJ very closely, and/or their state civil and criminal laws. Several States also authorize either naval or military organized militia forces. These are collectively known as the State Guard. State Guard organizations are organized, trained, equipped, armed, disciplined, and administered under each State's own sovereign authority, and are not subject to a Federal recall to active duty, nor are the individual members subject to the UCMJ in their capacities as members of the State Guard. State Guard organizations typically are organized similarly to a military force, and usually report to the senior National Guard officer in each State, known as the Adjutant General. In this sense, the State Guard are auxiliaries to each State's Constitutionally authorized organized militia forces, the Army and Air National Guard. The State Guard is often specialized, based on each state's requirements, for missions such as wilderness search and rescue, light aviation, forest firefighting, law enforcement, or general emergency management roles. Under each state's own authorities, State Guard members may be ordered to State Active Duty (SAD), in a status similar to National Guard members in a Title 32 status but solely under state authority and discipline, and also may be provided with the training, equipment, and authority to act as law enforcement officers with powers of arrest. Each state sets the requirements to join, remain, be promoted or rewarded, and conditions of employment such as a minimum amount of duty performed in a year, and whether any duty is paid or unpaid, and whether the individuals are covered by various civil service or retirement pension plans. Most State Guard duty is performed without pay, in a volunteer status. While the State Guard organizations are subject to recall to SAD, or other workforce requirements as imposed by their state, they are not subject to either partial or full mobilization authorities under Title 10. However, the individual State Guard members often have dual-status as both State Guard ''and'' a federally recognized uniformed services member, such as a
Texas State Guard The Texas State Guard (TXSG) is part of the state military force of Texas, and one of three branches of the Texas Military Forces. Along with the other two branches, the TXSG falls under the command of the Governor of Texas and is administered by ...
officer who is also a retired U.S. military officer. Such an individual could be recalled to active duty under both SAD as a State Guard member, or under one of the various authorities to recall retired or reserve military members to active duty (10 USC 688, various 10 USC 123XX authorities, and others), but not both because a federal status trumps a state status. State Guard members could thus be subject to the UCMJ at all times under their federal status, and under specific state military and civil/criminal codes under their state status. Cadets and midshipmen at the
United States Military Academy The United States Military Academy (USMA), also known metonymically as West Point or simply as Army, is a United States service academy in West Point, New York. It was originally established as a fort, since it sits on strategic high groun ...
,
United States Naval Academy The United States Naval Academy (US Naval Academy, USNA, or Navy) is a federal service academy in Annapolis, Maryland. It was established on 10 October 1845 during the tenure of George Bancroft as Secretary of the Navy. The Naval Academy ...
,
United States Air Force Academy The United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) is a United States service academy in El Paso County, Colorado, immediately north of Colorado Springs. It educates cadets for service in the officer corps of the United States Air Force and U ...
, and
United States Coast Guard Academy The United States Coast Guard Academy (USCGA) is a service academy of the United States Coast Guard in New London, Connecticut. Founded in 1876, it is the smallest of the five U.S. service academies and provides education to future Coast G ...
, are subject to the UCMJ at all times because they are in an active duty status as members of the regular component while serving at a Military Service Academy, per Article 2(a)(2) of UCMJ. Army and Air Force
Reserve Officers' Training Corps The Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC ( or )) is a group of college- and university-based officer-training programs for training commissioned officers of the United States Armed Forces. Overview While ROTC graduate officers serve in al ...
(ROTC) cadets are not subject to the UCMJ, except while on inactive or active duty training. Midshipmen of the
United States Merchant Marine Academy The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA or Kings Point) is a United States service academy in Kings Point, New York. It trains its midshipmen (as students at the academy are called) to serve as officers in the United States Merchant ...
and Navy ROTC (including marine-option) midshipmen are also subject to the UCMJ when on inactive or active duty for training orders. Members of military
auxiliaries Auxiliaries are support personnel that assist the military or police but are organised differently from regular forces. Auxiliary may be military volunteers undertaking support functions or performing certain duties such as garrison troops, ...
such as the Civil Air Patrol and the
Coast Guard Auxiliary The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary (USCGA, USCGAUX, CGAux, or USCG Aux) is the civilian uniformed volunteer component of the United States Coast Guard. Congress established the unit on 23 June 1939, as the United States Coast Guard Reserve ...
are not subject to the UCMJ, even when participating in missions assigned by the military or other branches of government. However, members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary can be called by the Commandant of the Coast Guard into the Temporary Reserve of the Coast Guard, in which case they become subject to the UCMJ. Additionally, the following categories of service members are subject to the UCMJ as indicated: # Retired members of the regular component who are entitled to retirement pay, per Article 2(a)(4) of UCMJ, regardless of the authority under which retired from active service and transferred to the retired list of their respective service's regular component, # Retired members of the reserve component, whether entitled to retired pay or awaiting retired pay at age 60 as a gray area reserve retiree, who are receiving hospital care from an armed force, per Article 2(a)(5) of UCMJ, # Members of the Fleet Reserve/Fleet Marine Corps Reserve (FR/FMCR), as enlisted retired Navy or Marine Corps personnel who have not yet served a total of 30 years of combined active, fleet reserve, and retired service, per Article 2(a)(6) of UCMJ. Both regular component and reserve component enlisted retirees are transferred to the FR/FMCR upon retirement if they have less than 30 total years, but more than 20 cumulative years of active service, and remain subject to the UCMJ in that status until they complete 30 total years of active and fleet reserve service, and are transferred to their respective original Service Retired List (regular component or retired reserve). The FR/FMCR is not applicable to any officers, any service member retired for disability and transferred to the Temporary or Permanent Disability Retired Lists, nor any enlisted retirees except those of the Navy and Marine Corps as noted above. # Persons in custody of the U.S. Armed Forces serving a sentence imposed by a court-martial, per Article 2(a)(7) of UCMJ, # Members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Public Health Service, and other organizations, when assigned to and serving with the armed forces, per Article 2(a)(8) of UCMJ, # Prisoners of War (POW)/Enemy Prisoners of War (EPW) in the custody of the U.S. Armed Forces, per Article 2(a)(9) of UCMJ, # In time of declared war or a contingency operation, persons serving with or accompanying a U.S. armed force in the field, per Article 2(a)(10), and # Detained
medical personnel A medic is a person involved in medicine such as a medical doctor, medical student, paramedic or an emergency medical responder. Among physicians in the UK, the term "medic" indicates someone who has followed a "medical" career path in postgr ...
and
military chaplain A military chaplain ministers to military personnel and, in most cases, their families and civilians working for the military. In some cases they will also work with local civilians within a military area of operations. Although the term ''cha ...
s in the custody of the U.S. Armed Forces. Civilians are not subject to UCMJ. However, the federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over crimes committed on a military installation. A military investigation may be conducted to determine whether or not to prosecute a civilian who commits a crime on a military base. Civilians are not otherwise subject to military law, even when the crime is committed against a service member. When a civilian bus driver murdered an Army private off post in 1942, for example, the post commander was unable to investigate.


Military contractors

Historically, the UCMJ applied to "persons serving with or accompanying an armed force in the field" and thus included
military contractor The arms industry, also known as the arms trade, is a global industry which manufactures and sells weapons and military technology. It consists of a commercial industry involved in the research and development, engineering, production, and ...
s "in time of war."David C. Hammond
The First Prosecution of a Contractor Under the UCMJ: Lessons for Service Contractors
''Service Contractor'' (Fall 2008), pp. 33-34.
In the
John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 H.R. 5122, also known as the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, was a bill passed in the United States Congress on September 29, 2006 and signed by United States President George W. Bush on October 17, 2006, be ...
, which was enacted in 2006, Congress expanded the UCMJ's applicability to cover contractors during a "declared war or contingency operation." The change came following the
Nisour Square massacre The Nisour Square massacre occurred on September 16, 2007, when employees of Blackwater Security Consulting (now Constellis), a private military company contracted by the US government to provide security services in Iraq, shot at Iraqi civilia ...
perpetrated by Blackwater Security personnel. In 2008, the first contractor was prosecuted under the new provision, marking the first time since 1968 that a contractor had been charged under military law. The civilian defendant, a dual Canadian-Iraqi citizen, was charged with stabbing a co-worker, another Iraqi civilian. The contractor ultimately pleaded guilty.


Non-judicial punishment

Under Article 15 of the Code (Subchapter III), specified military commanders have the authority to exercise
non-judicial punishment Non-judicial punishment (or NJP) is any form of punishment that may be applied to individual military personnel, without a need for a court martial or similar proceedings. United States In the United States Armed Forces, non-judicial punishment ...
(NJP) over their subordinates for minor breaches of discipline. These punishments are carried out after a hearing before the commander but without a judge or jury. Punishments are limited to a reduction in rank for enlisted members, loss of pay, restriction of privileges, extra-duty, reprimands, and, aboard ships, confinement. Guidelines for the imposition of NJP are contained in Part V of the ''
Manual for Courts-Martial The ''Manual for Courts-Martial'' (''MCM'') is the official guide to the conduct of courts-martial in the United States military. An Executive Order of the President of the United States, the ''MCM'' details and expands on the military law establi ...
'' and the various service regulations.


Complaints of wrongs and loss of property

Article 138 of the UCMJ provides that any service member may bring a "complaint of wrongs" against their commanding officer to the next senior officer exercising general court-martial authority over their commander. That officer will investigate the complaint of wrongs, and then report the findings of the investigation to the service Secretary (i.e., Secretary of the
Army An army (from Old French ''armee'', itself derived from the Latin verb ''armāre'', meaning "to arm", and related to the Latin noun ''arma'', meaning "arms" or "weapons"), ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on ...
,
Navy A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It in ...
,
Air Force An air force – in the broadest sense – is the national military branch that primarily conducts aerial warfare. More specifically, it is the branch of a nation's armed services that is responsible for aerial warfare as distinct from an ...
) concerned. Article 139 (10 U.S.C. § 939) provides for the convening of an investigation board of from one to three commissioned officers to investigate and adjudicate claims of willful damage, destruction, or theft of personal property, only if both parties are subject to the Code.


Current subchapters

The UCMJ is found in Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47 of the United States Code.


General provisions

Subchapter I, "General Provisions" has six sections (articles): Article 1 (Definitions), defines the following terms used in the rest of the UCMJ: Judge Advocate General, the
Navy A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions. It in ...
, officer in charge, superior commissioned officer, cadet, midshipman,
military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct ...
, accuser, military judge, law specialist, legal officer, judge advocate, record,
classified information Classified information is material that a government body deems to be sensitive information that must be protected. Access is restricted by law or regulation to particular groups of people with the necessary security clearance and need to know, ...
, and
national security National security, or national defence, is the security and defence of a sovereign state, including its citizens, economy, and institutions, which is regarded as a duty of government. Originally conceived as protection against military atta ...
. This article also provides that, "The Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard when it is operating as a service in the Navy, shall be considered as one armed force" for the purposes of the UCMJ.


Pre-trial procedure

Under Article 31, coercive
self-incrimination In criminal law, self-incrimination is the act of exposing oneself generally, by making a statement, "to an accusation or charge of crime; to involve oneself or another ersonin a criminal prosecution or the danger thereof". (Self-incrimination ...
is prohibited as a right under the Fifth Amendment. Apprehending officers utilize the Article 31 warning and waiver to prevent this self-incrimination, much like the ''Miranda'' warning. Article 31 was already well-established before ''Miranda''.
Article 32 An Article 32 hearing is a proceeding under the United States Uniform Code of Military Justice, similar to that of a preliminary hearing in civilian law. Its name is derived from UCMJ section VII ("Trial Procedure") Articl32(10 U.S.C. § 832), ...
refers to the pre-trial investigation and hearing conducted before charges are referred to trial for court-martial. It may be conducted by a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer or non-JAG officer.


Punitive articles

Subchapter X, "Punitive Articles", is the subchapter that details offenses under the uniform code. The 2019 MCM incorporates both major and minor changes to certain articles, and relocates many articles; careful examination of the source document is required to ensure full understanding, and previous "cheat sheets" and training materials may therefore be outdated. Those articles with a title annotated by "*" were changed from the 2016 MCM:


General article (Article 134)

The general article (Article 134) authorizes the prosecution of offenses not specifically detailed by any other article: "...all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty." Clause 1 of the article involves disorders and neglect, "...to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces." Clause 2 involves, "...conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces." Clause 3 deals with non-capital offenses violating other
federal law Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. A federal government is formed when a group of political units, such as states or provinces join in a federation, delegating their individual sovereignty and many po ...
; under this clause, any such offense created by
federal statute In the law of the United States, the Code of Laws of the United States of America (variously abbreviated to Code of Laws of the United States, United States Code, U.S. Code, U.S.C., or USC) is the official compilation and codification of the ...
may be prosecuted under Article 134. ''United States v. Perkins'', 47 C.M.R. 259 (Air Force Ct. of Military Review 1973). The most recent version of the ''
Manual for Courts-Martial The ''Manual for Courts-Martial'' (''MCM'') is the official guide to the conduct of courts-martial in the United States military. An Executive Order of the President of the United States, the ''MCM'' details and expands on the military law establi ...
'' lists the following offenses commonly prosecuted under Article 134:''Manual for Courts-Martial'' (2019 ed.). IV-138 to IV-151, and A17-18. * Animal abuse *
Bigamy In cultures where monogamy is mandated, bigamy is the act of entering into a marriage with one person while still legally married to another. A legal or de facto separation of the couple does not alter their marital status as married persons. I ...
* Check, worthless making and uttering – by dishonorably failing to maintain funds * Child pornography * Dishonorably failing to pay debt * Disloyal statement * Disorderly conduct, drunkenness * Extramarital sexual conduct * Discharging firearm through negligence * Fraternization * Gambling with subordinate * Negligent homicide * Indecent conduct * Indecent language * Pandering and prostitution * Self-injury without intent to avoid service * Straggling * Visual depiction, nonconsensual distribution or broadcast


See also

*
Judge Advocate General's Corps The Judge Advocate General's Corps, also known as JAG or JAG Corps, is the military justice branch or specialty of the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. Officers serving in the JAG Corps are typically called jud ...
* ''
Manual for Courts-Martial The ''Manual for Courts-Martial'' (''MCM'') is the official guide to the conduct of courts-martial in the United States military. An Executive Order of the President of the United States, the ''MCM'' details and expands on the military law establi ...
'' *
Military law Military justice (also military law) is the legal system (bodies of law and procedure) that governs the conduct of the active-duty personnel of the armed forces of a country. In some nation-states, civil law and military law are distinct bodie ...
*
Military tribunal Military justice (also military law) is the legal system (bodies of law and procedure) that governs the conduct of the active-duty personnel of the armed forces of a country. In some nation-states, civil law and military law are distinct bod ...
*
Military courtesy Military courtesy is one of the defining features of a ''professional'' military force. The courtesies form a strict and sometimes elaborate code of conduct. Military courtesy is an extension and a formalization of courtesies practiced in a cult ...
*
Military expression Military expression is an area of military law pertaining to the United States military that relates to the free speech rights of its service members. While "military free speech" was the term used during the Vietnam War era, "military expression ...
*
Laws of war The law of war is the component of international law that regulates the conditions for initiating war (''jus ad bellum'') and the conduct of warring parties (''jus in bello''). Laws of war define sovereignty and nationhood, states and territor ...
*
Lieber Code The Lieber Code of April 24, 1863, issued as General Orders No. 100, Adjutant General's Office, 1863, was an instruction signed by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln to the Union forces of the United States during the American Civil War that dictated h ...
*
Geneva Conventions upright=1.15, Original document in single pages, 1864 The Geneva Conventions are four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish international legal standards for humanitarian treatment in war. The singular term ''Geneva Conven ...
*
Code of Service Discipline The Code of Service Discipline (CSD) is the basis of the Canadian Forces military justice system. The CSD is designed to assist military commanders in maintaining discipline, efficiency, and morale within the Canadian Forces (CF). It is found in Pa ...
, a
Canadian Canadians (french: Canadiens) are people identified with the country of Canada. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Canadians, many (or all) of these connections exist and are collectively the source of ...
equivalent to the UCMJ


Notes


Further reading

* DA Pam 27-
''Military Judges Benchbook''
(.PDF).

. .


External links


Uniform Code of Military Justice

Manual for Courts-Martial United States (2019 Edition)
Caution: PDF document.
The original version of the MCM from the Library of Congress
Caution: 5.53 MB PDF document. * * {{US military navbox Military justice United States federal defense and national security legislation United States military law Title 10 of the United States Code United States military pay and benefits