Here is a a memo, courtesy of OFL, released yesterday by the SecDef. The memo directs a subcommittee of the Defense Legal Policy Board to assess “military justice in cases of U.S. Service members alleged to have caused the death, injury, or abuse of non-combatants in Iraq or Afghanistan.”

The subcommittee will be co-chaired by the Honorable Judith Miller (former General Counsel of the Department of Defense) and Major General (Ret) Walter Huffman (former Army TJAG).  Other members named in the letter include former Army Vice Chief of Staff General (Ret) Peter Chiarelli and Marine Lieutenant General (Ret)  John Sattler, who served as (among other jobs) Commander of JTF-HOA and Commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Central Command.

Their report, and the DLPB’s recommendation, is due in 210 days and will address a variety of topics, including whether DoD could improve prosecution of joint offenders and in joint, deployed areas, should military justice be pursued within the joint force, utilizing joint resources, rather than having cases handled separately and within each component service?

5 Responses to “Defense Legal Policy Board Subcommittee to Review Military Justice In Combat Zones”

  1. Babu says:

    From the memo: “Nor should the review pass judgment on the results of military justice in particular cases or intrude upon any pending case or investigation.”

    That should be a no-brainer, but apparently SECDEF saw some need for reinforcement.

  2. Mike "No Man" Navarre says:

    I wonder what the central concern that prompted the review is?  Is it about resources?  Results?  PRocess?  Or something else entirely?  Given the recent results out of the Afghanistan in the 5th Stryker Brigade cases, it would seem that DoD can;t complain about recent results.  Is it questions about process from cases like Bhenna, although the government ultimately prevailed on appeal in that case.  Tantalizingly little ideas in the memo, though resources seems to be a focus of the questions.

  3. stewie says:

    Makes me think this is a money-saving thing when I see so many joints.
    Also, makes me have the munchies.

  4. Tami says:

    I think it’s about the disparity in sentences when it comes to crimes against local nationals, and the perception we don’t value an Afghan or Iraqi life nearly as much as American lives.  Historically, a sentence for murder or manslaughter is much heavier for the killing of an American, while Afghan or Iraqi life is worth more like 3-5 years.  Of course, there are exceptions, and when there is a mandatory minimum, then the only choices are life with or without parole.

    It’s important for us for local nationals to see our justice system is fair and that we do value their lives.

  5. Anonymous Air Force Senior Defense Counsel with the initials NM says:

    Tami — Thanks.  That’s an excellent point.  I wonder what TCs are putting on as aggravating evidence when there is an Iraqi/Afghani victim?  The few cases I’ve seen with American victims have had very robust sentencing cases.