Journal Title

White Paper





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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.

Recommended Citation

David A. Schlueter and Lisa Schenck, American Military Justice: Retaining the Commander's Authority to Enforce Discipline and Justice (white paper), 2020.



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