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1972 Army Law. 1 (1972)

handle is hein.journals/armylaw1972 and id is 1 raw text is: PUBLISHED BY: THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL'S SCHOOL

2 - NUMBER 1 - JANUARY 1972


On 30 November 1971, General Prugh ad-
dressed the Army Commander's Conference
concerning Military Justice-Theory and
Practice-Its Current State. The following
are excerpts from his remarks:
In our military justice system, the military
is responsible for its own internal law en-
forcement, performed by personnel who are
themselves subject to that military law. This
system is presently under attack from ele-
ments of Congress, from minority groups,
and even from its own ranks. Many advocate
substitution of Federal civilian courts for
military tribunals. Senator Bayh said in early
1971, The need for reform of this system is
more critical than ever before, and he and
Senator Hatfield and Representative Bennett
have introduced comprehensive reform pro-
Meanwhile, the Black Caucus reports a
widespread belief that black soldiers cannot
get a fair trial, are too frequently and dis-
proportionately placed in pretrial confinement
or given nonjudicial punishment, have too
few black judges and counsel, are taken ad-
vantage of in administrative discharges.
The first question that must be answered
for commanders is whether the military jus-
tice system is working. Is it doing the job of
ridding the service of bad actors, correcting
the rehabilitable, punishing, the wrongdoer?
If this is measured by the volume of persons
Distribution of The Army Lawyer is one
to each active duty Army judge advocate and
Department of the Army civilian, attorney.
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tried, convicted, considered for elimination
for misconduct, and punished with nonjudi-
cial punishment, then the answer is clear:
The system is working remarkably well.
Some of the attacks on the military justice
system have come from its own people, not
just from those who want to reform it, dras-
tically limit it, or do away with it altogether.
Some of these in-service criticisms are com-
pletely valid. In my view it does take too long
to try the average case, and steps are being
taken to improve in this area. And it is true
that the present system does not operate on
its own to familiarize military personnel with
its workings. Partly as a result of the in-
service criticisms, the Chief of Staff directed
an evaluation of the effectiveness of the ad-
ministration of military justice, and an Ad
Hoc Committee, chaired by Major General
S. H. Matheson, conducted the study. Almost
simultaneously, a Report on the American
Soldier in Vietnam dealt also with the sub-
ject. Both reports agreed that there is a crisis
in confidence in the Code, but that the Code
does work.
Responsibility for these explanations must
fall on the military lawyers themselves. I do
not believe that they have provided adequate
instructional tools to the line officers admin-
istering the Code. The Manual for Courts-
Martial itself has become a book by lawyers
for lawyers, rather than the useful and handy
guide for unit officers that it once was.
Two areas in the administration of justice,
in particular, seem to have caused concern:
Nonjudicial punishment under Article 15 of
the Uniform Code and, because of its connec-
tion with the unique problems of drug abuse,
the power of a commander to authorize a
search and seizure.

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