Today – in an email discussion gone rogue – the question arose of how many people a CAAF opinion affects.

Including only people who are either currently subject to UCMJ jurisdiction or have a real potential to become subject to such jurisdiction (for the sake of simplicity), I put the number at approximately 3.7 million.

Here’s the breakdown:

Note: Retirees is the total on page 27 of the link (2,308,073) less reserve retired (395,808) and survivors (325,889).

For comparison, the 2016 estimated median population of the states (excluding Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) is 4.5 million.

3.7 million is right between the estimated populations of Connecticut (3.5 million) and Oklahoma (3.9 million).

6 Responses to “How many people does a CAAF opinion affect?”

  1. Isaac Kennen says:

    A population of 3.7 million would put CAAF above the D.C. Circuit, which serves about 601 thousand people, but below every other Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.  The next smallest Circuit is the 1st Circuit, which serves about 13 million.  The largest, the 9th Circuit, serves about 61 million.  Of course, the Circuit Courts handle civil matters as well.  So its a little bit of apples to oranges.  We would be better served by comparing the volume of cases to other jurisdictions.  Further, an argument could be made that CAAF serves the entire nation since it presides over the principle means by which the nation obtains a disciplined military force.  That serves everyone.

  2. Isaac Kennen says:

    CAAF’s annual report last year showed 980 dispositions.  CAAF FY15 Annual Report.That would seem to put it pretty close to being even with the 6th Circuit, which handled 961 criminal cases over a 12 month period.  The least busy Federal Circuit for criminal matters seemed to be the DC Circuit (68 criminal cases), and the busiest was the 5th Circuit (2,447 criminal cases).  U.S. Courts of Appeals Federal Judicial Caseload Statistics (March 31, 2015)

  3. (Former)ArmyTC says:

    Interesting thing to know. Thank you Zack for the post and Zeke for the additional context.

  4. Vulture says:

    It seems like the question is grounded in whether the Court has ‘supervisory’ jurisdiction.  If the MJ system is just a mechanism for ensuring proper prosecution the number would be about 970.  The Court has invited itself to this disposition with the opinion in Hasan.  But if the populace in general is under consideration the full 3.7 or so million has to be taken into consideration as a subject to ‘supervision.’

  5. Vulture says:

    Put another way, is the UCMJ a tool for commanders or is it the tool of a commander.

  6. stewie says:

    It’s a tool, but it’s also a rule, a guideline, a break against injustice…it’s got a lot of different roles, to assist, to protect, to defend, to delineate.