More Than Just an Advocate

My latest project has me reading decisions by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces from a select number of terms. A few decisions from the court’s first term, 1951-1952, have caught my attention so far. One in particular helps practitioners and observers understand just why the military justice system takes being a prosecutor (trial counsel) so seriously. Would it surprise you to know that, prior to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) in 1950, it was military custom that the trial judge advocate (prosecutor) also defended the Accused?

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(In)Famous Courts-Martial

A little more than a month ago, the Washington Post (here) and the New York Times (here) broke the story that the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice prosecutors recommended that General (ret.) David Petraeus (Wikipedia) face criminal charges for allegedly providing classified information to his biographer, Paula Broadwell (Wikipedia), while he served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Because he receives retirement pay, General Petraeus could be subject to court-martial or federal prosecution.[1] After a difficult couple of weeks and weekends of work at my day job, and in honor of my first snow day of the season tomorrow, I thought I’d let my mind wander over some notable courts-martial I’ve come across in my reading and research.

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Why Military History Matters

From the Society of Military History:

“The Society for Military History is pleased to present this white paper on “The Role of Military History in the Contemporary Academy.”

Co-authors Tami Davis Biddle of the U.S. Army War College and Robert M. Citino of the University of North Texas provide a compelling chronicle of military history’s revitalization over the past four decades and assess its current place in American higher education. In addition to the sub-field’s maturation in academic terms, its enduring popularity with the public and college students makes it an ideal lure for history departments concerned about course enrollments and the recruitment of majors and minors. Knowledge of the uses, abuses, and costs of war should also constitute a part of the education of future leaders in the world’s mightiest military power.

The SMH intends this white paper to generate a dialogue with history professors, college and university administrators, journalists, politicians, and citizens regarding the key role the study of military history can play in deepening our understanding of the world we inhabit and producing an informed citizenry.”

I encourage everyone to click here to read this short yet powerful paper.

The Military Necessity Doctrine

In his 1972 article, John T. Willis examined CAAF’s institutional “search for a constitutional philosophy.”[1] His was “primarily interested in focusing on the Court of Military Appeals as an institution in the belief that its strengthening will assure constitutional due process for those who serve their country in the armed services and will improve military justice in general.”[2] In an upcoming issue of the University of Memphis Law Review, I aim to rekindle this conversation by studying the development of what I describe as the court’s “military necessity doctrine.”

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