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.”

Key Facts and Info

Read the Gillibrand Report of Four Largest U.S. Military Bases (2015): Documents Reveal Continued Lack of Improvement in Military Justice System

Read the Gillibrand Report of Four Largest U.S. Military Bases (2014)Despite Recent Congressional Reforms, Dysfunction In Military Justice System Remains

Read the Gillibrand Report of Four Largest U.S. Military Bases (2013): Nearly Half of Survivors Who Reported Assaults Dropped Out of Military Justice Process; Sexual Assaults More Prevalent Than Previously Acknowledged (pdf)

Read AP story: "Pentagon Misled Lawmakers on Military Sexual Assault Cases"

Read Human Rights Watch Report: U.S. Raped In Military - Then Punished: Unjust Discharges Cause Lasting Harm

Read "Embattled" the Human Rights Watch Report: Survivors 12x More Likely to Suffer Retaliation Than See Assailant Convicted; Not A Single Case of Serious Disciplinary Action Found for Retaliation (pdf)

NY Times Magazine Cover Story: "The Military's Rough Justice on Sexual Assault" on military’s continued failure to combat sexual assault – including accounts of retribution and retaliation

VIDEO: “Military Justice’s Dirty Secret”: Fmr. Chief Prosecutor USAF “Put Out to Pasture” for Speaking Out & Doing His Job

5/9/16 DOD IG Report: Evaluation of the Separation of Service Members Who Made a Report of Sexual Assault 

Quotes You Should Read

MJIA: Myths vs Facts sheet

12/3/2014: Top Reasons Why Military Justice Improvement Act Is Still Needed After Previous Incremental NDAA Reforms (pdf)

Senators Who Voted In Favor of MJIA

Retired Military Officers Supporting MJIA

Veterans', Faith, & Women's Groups Supporting MJIA

Letter from UCMJ legal experts supporting MJIA (pdf)

Editorials & Op-Eds Supporting MJIA

ESPN Report: The Enemy Within

Read DOD’s Own Advisory Panel Opinion in Support of MJIA

Allies Testimony: No Impact on Good Order & Discipline From Change To Independent Military Justice System

Gillibrand Testimony to Response Systems Panel

Text of Response Systems Panel Dissent (pdf)

List of Excluded Offenses

Useful Links

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Vietnam Veterans of America

Survivor Stories: 1 | 2

DOD Annual SAPR Reports

Defense Advisory Committee on Women

The Invisible War

“Twice Betrayed” Investigative Report

ESPN Report: The Enemy Within

Service Women’s Action Network

Protect Our Defenders