Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The putsch: time for a purple CDA?

Only a little while ago, the Editor posted (see below) an essay that Prof. (and LtCol (Ret)) Rachel VanLandingham and he wrote concerning fallout of the failed putsch for military personnel. As more information emerges about who was involved, it appears that an unknown number of active, reserve, and retired members of the armed forces may have participated. Personnel matters, including military justice and rules on extremist activities, are administered by the separate services, and it would be concerning if there were disparate outcomes across service lines. In the past, where numerous members of the armed forces have been suspected of misconduct (think: Tailhook) a consolidated disposition authority (CDA) has been designated so that a single yardstick will be used when making decisions about how any charges should be disposed of. The armed forces may therefore want to consider designating a single CDA for all putsch-related cases. That officer should, in the Editor's opinion, be at least a Lieutenant General or Vice Admiral, with a senior uniformed lawyer serving as staff judge advocate. At the very least, the services should make every effort to fashion a consistent approach to disciplinary and other adverse actions in these cases. Given the gravity of the putsch, the services should also coordinate public affairs program responses to the putsch, both for consistency's sake and in the interest of maximizing transparency and thereby fostering public confidence in the process.


  1. An excellent idea. The Navy has also done this with the GDMA fraud investigation and is now doing this in situations where related accused's are at different units and bases.

  2. Truly , both excellent essay and postscript

  3. Thanks for this Gene. Several of my colleagues (retired and serving) in the Canadian Forces were curious about these issues.


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