Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel last fall ordered a comprehensive review of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), citing numerous amendments to the UCMJ, which have created a lack of uniformity in the code. Secretary Hagel’s order was not limited to the UCMJ, but extended to how it is implemented by the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) and the numerous regulations that govern the various branches of the armed forces.
This comprehensive review is being undertaken by the Military Justice Review Group (MJRG), headed by Senior Judge, and former Chief Judge, Andrew S. Effron of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Earlier this month, the MJRG unveiled a website where those who are interested can submit suggestions for amending the UCMJ and/or the MCM via either email or U.S. mail.
Eugene R. Fidell, the Florence Rogatz Visiting Lecturer in Law and Senior Research Scholar in Law at Yale Law School, has sketched out a number of possible reforms for the MJRG to consider. At the Global Military Justice Reform blog, Fidell notes that areas such as jurisdiction and transparency are a few of the many areas where the MJRG should focus its efforts. Making trial and appellate documents available to the press and the public via the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) service would make the military justice system more transparent.