Well my fascination with expanded UCMJ jurisdiction may be short lived. The House either has passed or likely will pass early tomorrow HR 2740, the “MEJA Expansion and Enforcement Act of 2007,” see House floor summary for today here. HR 2740 will expand the coverage of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act to cover all contractors “while employed under a contract (or subcontract at any tier) awarded by any department or agency of the United States, where the work under such contract is carried out in an area, or in close proximity to an area (as designated by the Department of Defense), where the Armed Forces is conducting a contingency operation.” See House Report here.

I would imagine that, with this expansion of MEJA, the application of the UCMJ to contractors will be moot, particularly because the bill also provides for establishment of Theater Investigative Units of the FBI for each contingency operation. In light of the flame spraying of Blackwater USA by the House Oversight Committee, here, I would imagine the bill will be fast tracked along with a Senate companion, S.674.

One Response to “Bye, Bye Expanded Art. 2, Hello Expanded MEJA”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is not surprising. In all honesty, the military lacks the desire and ability to successfully prosecute misconduct by Blackwater and other security contractors. First, combat commanders don’t want their JAG and law enforcement resources siphoned off to prosecute civilians when the FBI/DOJ can do it. Second, given the military’s desire to make their attorney’s “generalists,” they have very few seasoned criminal litigators. Given the hefty paychecks Blackwater and other security contractor employees enjoy, they would acquire top dollar criminal defense attorneys who would chew up most Trial Counsel. Don’t misunderstand me – there are some top notch criminal litigators in the military. Just not enough of them.