Last month Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2020 (MJIA 2020) as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Similar to multiple predecessor “MJIAs” Sen. Gillibrand has introduced over the last six years, MJIA 2020 would amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UMCJ) and transfer authority from the commander to a judge advocate (JA) to prefer, dispose of, and refer certain charges to trial by court-martial.
Because the core objective of MJIA 2020 - creating a system where the commander and a JA split prosecutorial discretion depending on the offense - represents fundamental change to our military justice system, its proponents bear the burden to justify why this is truly necessary and beneficial. That means providing persuasive evidence that 1) the current approach is significantly flawed and 2) that the proposed change would be a substantial improvement.
Fundamental change proponents have failed to carry their burden.... [Continued in PDF below].
Editor's Note: "Profs. Jenks and Corn have penned a contribution regarding the Military Justice Improvement Act that is intended especially for CAAFlog readers. It is longer than a normal blog post, and would be unwieldy to read on the blog, so I upload it as a PDF here."
Chris Jenks & Geoffrey S. Corn