Even If It Ain’t Broke, Why Not Fix It? Three Proposed Improvements to the Uniform Code of Military Justice

In the spirit of responsiveness and resilience, this article proposes what the authors believe are three important changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice: (1) incorporating a “no-adverse-inference” warning into Article 31(b) (the military version of Miranda warnings), (2) transforming the Article 32 pretrial investigation into a preliminary hearing process, and (3) expressly enumerating a limited category of offenses for which civilians accompanying the force in the held can be held responsible. While each proposal focuses on a different aspect of military justice – criminal investigations, pretrial hearings, and trial procedures for civilians accompanying the force – each proposal is connected to a broader theme of ensuring fairness in the system while preserving military readiness.

By Geoffrey S. Corn

George R. Killam Jr. Chair of Criminal Law and Director of the Center for Military Law and Policy, Texas Tech University School of Law; Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired); Former Special Assistant for Law of War Matters and Chief of the Law of War Branch, Office of the Judge Advocate General, US Army; Chief of International Law for US Army Europe; Professor of International and National Security Law at the US Army Judge Advocate General’s School.

By Victor M. Hansen

Professor of Law, New England Law, Boston. Professor Hansen served for twenty years in the U.S. Army. He has been a military defense attorney and military prosecutor involved in military capital litigation and, previously, an associate professor at The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia.

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