Friday, June 9, 2023

Racial disparities

Yesterday Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks issued this memorandum setting out steps to be evaluated with a view to reducing racial disparities in the investigative and military justice systems. The 17 recommendations are based on the work of a DoD Internal Review Team, and will now be reviewed by cognizant offices within the department. The IRT's report can be found here

Of interest among the recommendations sent out for review:

  • Right to counsel for those members facing non-judicial punishment
  • Update the vessel exception to the right to reject non-judicial punishment, and restrict it to situations of operational necessity
  • Legal representation at summary courts-martial
  • Bar any commanding officer in the accused's chain of command from serving as a summary court-martial officer
  • Added due process for personnel facing administrative separation but not entitled to an ADSEP board
  • Improved compliance with Article 137, UCMJ, which requires periodic instruction on the punitive articles of the Code
  • Improved and standardized military justice data collection
  • Improved protections with regard to titling, indexing and expungement of investigative records
Secretary Hicks's memorandum notes that additional research remains to be done. 

A consolidated assessment on the 17 recommendations is due in 120 days.

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