We’ve commented a number of times about the reduction in court-martial levels in recent years. While all the services experienced reductions in the combined totals of GCMs and SPCMs from FY 2004 to FY 2009, the rate of reduction was highly disparate across the services.
The downward trend has been most pronounced in the Department of the Navy. In Fiscal Year 2004, the Marine Corps and Navy combined tried 2,185 general and special courts-martial. By Fiscal Year 2009, that number had been cut almost in half to 1,112. But when all branches in the Department of Defense are considered, the drop-off in general and special courts-martial from FY 2004 to FY 2009 was a more modest 33%, from 4,384 to 2,919. The Department of the Army has not experienced the same drastic reductions as the other services. The Army tried 1,329 general and special courts-martial in FY 2004 and 1,166 in FY 2009—approximately a 12% reduction. The Air Force was in the middle, experiencing a 26.4% reduction — from 870 special and general courts-martial in FY 2004 to 641 in FY 2009. (While the Coast Guard’s numbers aren’t included in the DOD-wide calculation above, since the Coast Guard isn’t in the Department of Defense, it experienced a 21% drop in GCMs and SPCMs from FY 2004 (39) to FY 2009 (31).)
Any speculation as to why the Navy and Marine Corps’ GCM and SPCM drop-off was so much more pronounced than that of the other services and while the Army’s drop-off, though substantial, was so much less than those of the other services?