UCMJ Amendments and Military Justice Acts (1960-1985)
As the UCMJ evolved and was studied, this section contains material on studies and including the Powell Report, the Military Justice Acts of 1968 and 1983.
In October 1959, Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker appointed a committee of senior officers to study the administration of military justice in the Army. The committee, which was chaired by LTG Herbert B. Powell, was tasked to: study the effectiveness of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) on discipline within the Army; “analyze any inequities or injustices accruing to the Government or to individuals from the application of the Code and judicial decisions stemming therefrom;” and consider legislative or other improvements to the Code. The committee’s report, which is commonly known as the Powell report, was approved by Secretary Brucker in October 1960. Many of the recommendations of this report regarding the authority of military judges and The Judge Advocate General in courts-martial proceedings and reviews were subsequently adopted by the Army.
The Military Justice Act of 1968
H.R. 15971, commonly known as the Military Justice Act of 1968 (Pub. L. No. 90-632, 82 Stat. 1335), became law on October 24, 1968. It was the first major amendment to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Act of June 24, 1948, ch. 625, tit. II, § 203, 62 Stat. 604, 628). The various supporting materials that are linked below — the Constitutional Rights of Military Personnel: Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary; U.S. Senate, Pursuant to S. Res. 260, 87th Congress, 2nd Session; and Military Justice: Joint Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights of the Committee on the Judiciary and a Special Subcommittee of the Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, 89th Congress, 2nd Session — comprise the legislative history of Public Law 90-632.
- Background of the UCMJ Prepared at JAG's School (1959)
- Constitutional Rights of Military Personnel Senate Hearings pursuant to S. Res. 260 (Feb. 20, 25; Mar. 1, 2, 6, 9, 12, 1962)
The hearings took place between February 20 and March 12, 1962. This document contains statements by 26 individuals, including Hon. Sam J. Ervin, Jr. (Senator, North Carolina), Hon. Kenneth B. Keating (Senator, New York), Hon. Carlisle P. Runge (Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower), Hon. Alfred B. Fitt (Deputy Under Secretary of the Army for Management), Hon. Paul B. Fay, Jr. (Under Secretary of the Navy), Hon. Benjamin W. Fridge (Special Assistant to Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower, Personnel and Reserve Forces), Rear Admiral William C. Mott (Judge Advocate General of the Navy), and Hon. Robert E. Quinn (Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Military Appeals). An appendix includes: questionnaires as well as an “Aide Memoire” from the Subcommittee sent to the Army, Navy, and Air Force, followed by their responses. The appendix also includes a “Summary of Facts and Legal Issues” from each of the military branches, and two letters addressed to U.S. Senator Kenneth B. Keating, one from Major General D. W. McGowan (Chief, National Guard Bureau, dated April 25, 1962) and the other from Hon. Carlisle P. Runge (dated April 9, 1962).
- Constitutional Rights of Military Personnel Hearings- Summary pursuant to S. Res. 58 (1963)
- Military Justice Act Joint Hearings (Jan 18, 19, 26; March 1, 2, 3, 1966)
The joint hearings took place between January 18 and March 3, 1966. Part 1 contains statements by 32 individuals, including Hon. Sam J. Ervin, Jr. (Senator, North Carolina), Rear Admiral Wilfred A. Hearn (Judge Advocate General of the Navy), Brig. Gen. Kenneth J. Hodson (Judge Advocate General of the Army), Hon. Jacob K. Javits (Senator, New York), Maj. Gen. R. W. Manss (Judge Advocate General of the Air Force), Hon. Robert E. Quinn (Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Military Appeals), and Hon. Strom Thurmond (Senator, South Carolina). Part 2 contains Appendix A, which includes the text, summaries, memoranda, and departmental views of bills S. 745 – S. 762, sectional analyses of H.R. 273 (S.2906) and the proposed technical amendment to H.R. 277 (S.2907). Appendix A also includes cases, various articles and other materials, such as Department of Defense (DoD) directives, a side-by-side comparison of the proposed House and Senate bills with the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and a brief bibliography. Part 3 contains Appendix B, which includes questionnaires — dated February 24, 1966 — from the Subcommittee to the DoD, cover letters, and the responses from each of the military branches.
The Military Justice Act of 1983
The Military Justice Act of 1983 (Pub. L. No. 98-209, 97 Stat. 1393) became law on December 6, 1983 and took effect on August 1, 1984. Iowa Senator Roger W. Jepsen sponsored the bill (S. 974) that became this major amendment to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Act of June 24, 1948, ch. 625, tit. II, § 203, 62 Stat. 604, 628). Various related documents and supporting materials constituting major components of the legislative history of Public Law 98-209 are linked below.
- S.2521 Tile 10, Chapter 47 Amendment Hearings (Sept. 9, 16, 1982)
The subcommittee met in open session, Senator Roger W. Jepsen (chairman) presiding. On the first day of the hearings, statements were made by William H. Taft, IV (General Counsel, Department of Defense), Maj. Gen. Hugh J. Clasusen (Judge Advocate General of the Army), Maj. Gen. Thomas T. B. Bruton (Judge Advocate General of the Air Force), Rear Adm. John S. Jenkins (Judge Advocate General of the Navy), Rear Adm. Edwin Daniels (Chief Counsel of the Coast Guard), and Brig. Gen. William H. J. Tiernan (Director, Judge Advocate Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps). Five additional individuals, including the Hon. Robinson O. Everett, (Chief Judge, Court of Military Appeals), made statements on the second day of the hearings. No further action was taken on this bill.
- Committee Meeting Hearings (Nov. 9, 1983)
The Hon. Les Aspin, chairman of the subcommittee, presided over the hearing on S. 974, the Military Justice Act of 1983. The full text of the hearing includes the statements of Hon. William H. Taft IV, General Counsel, Department of Defense; Maj. Gen. Hugh J. Clausen, Judge Advocate General of the Army; Maj. Gen. Thomas B. Bruton, Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Air Force; and Hon. Robinson O. Everett, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Military Appeals
- Advisory Commission Report, The Military Justice Act of 1983, Volumes I and II (1983)
The Secretary of Defense, at the direction of the U.S. Congress, established the Military Justice Act of 1983 Advisory Commission to study and make recommendations on issues concerning sentencing authority, military judges and courts of Military Review, jurisdiction of the special court-martial, the tenure of military judges, and a retirement system for U.S. Court of Military Appeals judges. In December 1984, the “Hemingway report,” named after the Commission Chairman Colonel Thomas L. Hemingway, USAF, was transmitted to the Armed Services Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, and to the Code Committee (established under section 867(g), Title 10, United States Code). Originally issued in four volumes, the edition linked below is in two compressed volumes. Volume 1 is comprised of “Commission Recommendations and Position Papers," and the “Transcript of Commission Hearings.” Volume 2 is comprised of the “Survey of Convening Authorities and Military Justice Practitioners,” and “Public Comments, Miscellaneous Documents, and Statistics.”
- 1982 Senate Report
- S.974 Committee Considerations