Military Justice Improvement Act: Allies Testimony

Allied Force Commanders Testified That The MJIA Will Not Disrupt "Good Order And Discipline"

As seen through the implementation of similar policies in their armed forces.

Maj. Gen. Blaise Cathcart, Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces:

“The Canadian armed forces require a robust and fair military justice system to investigate, prosecute, and adjudicate allegations of sexual assault. As the superintendent of the administration of the Canadian military justice system, I am confident our system meets the disciplinary needs of the chain of command while addressing the interests of victims and reflecting the constitutionality protected Canadian values of fairness, transparency, and the rule of law… The 1999 changes to the military justice system were battle tested in the theater of active operations and, in my view were a key contributor to the combat effectiveness of the Canadian armed forces. The current military justice system contributed substantially to the fielding and sustainment of a disciplined and efficient force with high morale.”

Maj. Gen. Steve Noonan, Deputy Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command:

“My intent is simply to inform the Panel that as an operational commander, I'm very comfortable with where we have evolved to, recognizing the continued key role of the commanding officer in the system, and the latitude that the system still provides for us to maintain good order and discipline, two key elements of operational effectiveness… In terms of the role of the commanding officer in the court martial process, in sensitive matters, like an alleged sexual assault, we believe it is in the best interest of the chain of command, the accused, and the complainant to have an independent investigator assess the evidence and lay charges, an independent prosecutor determine whether or not to proceed, and an independent court martial administrator convene a court martial. All of these actors, in my view, strengthen my role in the chain of command as those under my command can be confident in the real and perceived independence of the military justice system.”

Air Comm. Paul Cronan, Director General, Australian Defense Force Legal Service:

“At this point, it's appropriate to reflect on the effect of the reforms made to the Australian military justice system in 2003 and 2006. These reforms have undoubtedly had a significant and positive impact on the efficacy, impartiality, and perceived fairness of Australia's military justice system. This a fact confirmed by a number of subsequent independent reviews of the effectiveness of the 2003 and 2006 reforms. As a result of their independent review, they concluded that the reforms had been effective, and that as a result of the reforms, "The military justice system is delivering and should continue to deliver impartial, rigorous, and fair outcomes. Enhanced transparency and enhanced oversight is substantially more independent from the chain of command, and is effective in maintaining a high standard of discipline both domestically and in the operational theater."

Comm. Andrei Spence, Commodore Naval Legal Services, Royal Navy, UK:

“Probably the most pressing question that you need answering from me, and if I may preempt it slightly at the risk of being too forthcoming, is what's the effect on command of our changes? How do they view it? Do they feel disempowered, disenfranchised? I have to say that the simple answer to that is no.”