Important Note: I’ve been advised that this article had some unfortunate edits made to it prior to publication that removed some key language. Specifically, it was supposed to discuss prosecutors and defense counsel, and career tracks for each, establishing career professional litigators in the judge advocate communities. The online version has been updated. This is also a longer research paper in the works discussing this proposal. I have also revised the title of this post to more accurately reflect the article.
Heritage fellow Cully Stimson wrote an interesting article a couple of days ago about the need to reform the military justice’s prosecution system, starting with the prosecutors:
To address a major part of the problem [of sexual assault in the military], Congress should fundamentally restructure a key aspect of the Judge Advocate General (JAG) corps. Congress should mandate the creation of career prosecutors within the respective services combined JAG corps. Unless and until that happens, many of the problems will persist.
He sees the steps the services as taking now, such as hiring HQEs to assist inexperienced prosecutors, the one-week prosecutor courses at the service JAG schools, and other measures, as inadequate.
Congress should require the services to do the following:
- Recruit talented law students who want to be prosecutors;
- Require the services to establish a career track for prosecutors and keep those prosecutors in court for their entire careers as prosecutors;
- Develop prosecutor-specific training protocols throughout the 20-plus-year career of those prosecutors;
- Cease co-training with defense counsel;
- Design a viable 20-plus-year career path for JAG prosecutors that gives the best performers the opportunity to attain the rank of O-6 (colonel/captain); and
- Require that the service judge advocates send new prosecutors to larger commands first, where they will prosecute only misdemeanor cases for at least five years, including no felony cases that are referred to special courts-martial.