The Shadow Advisory Report Group of Experts (SARGE), has released a statement on the DoD Independent Review Committee (IRC) report from last Friday.
SARGE focuses on the Accountability section of the IRC report. In the BLUF, SARGE suggests that,
Hard Truths does not purport to address the broader changes Congress is currently considering. As a result, it should not be read as having rejected those changes. Congress should proceed with consideration of legislation transferring disposition authority over all offenses for which the maximum punishment exceeds a year’s confinement to judge advocates who are independent of the chain of command[.]
SARGE goes on to say, correctly, that,
Additionally, if, as the report observes (App. B at 6), “junior enlisted Service members hav[e
Should any changes to military justice practice be limited to the IRC recommendations, we will have a "ununiform" bifurcated system of military justice. This will further add to the already complex and confusing investigative and accountability process. There will become two major classes of victims: the classes identified by the IRC (Chart, Appendix B, at 10), and other victims who will remain within the commander-centric system--the mother of a murdered Sailor, the Soldiers who are victims of a barrack's thief, the Airman suffering abusive (toxic) leadership on the flight line; or the taxpayer whose money is taken in allowances fraud or military property theft.
An actual or perceived unequal justice system is unlikely to be helpful to good order and discipline. The recommendations may, if enacted or implemented alone, have a perverse effect on ensuring trust in the system and in creating and supporting necessary cultural change. No one doubts the need to address acts and words of sexual aggression--Senator Gillibrand's bill is the much better, if not complete, approach Congress should follow.
Cheers, Phil Cave
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