Since PFC.Manning has Created a Spark I thought I'd answer questions and Clear up alot of misconceptions about Military police at least concerning
What fallows will be a history of orgins for military Law,Its powers and limitaions.
The historical foundation for our military law and our criminal justice system is
On 30 June 1775, the Second Continental Congress established 69 Articles of War to govern the conduct of the Continental Army.
Effective upon its ratification in 1789, Article I, Section 8 of the United States Constitution provided that Congress has the power to regulate the
land and naval forces. On 10 April 1806, the United States Congress enacted 101 Articles of War (which applied to both the Army and the Navy),
which were not significantly revised until over a century later. The military justice system continued to operate under the Articles of War until 31
May 1951, when the Uniform Code of Military Justice went into effect.
The UCMJ was passed by Congress on 5 May 1950, signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, and became effective on 31 May 1951. The word Uniform in
the Code's title refers to the congressional intent to make military justice uniform or consistent among the armed services.
The current version of the UCMJ is printed in the latest edition of the Manual for Courts-Martial (2008), incorporating changes made by the President
(executive orders) and National Defense Authorization Acts of 2006 and 2007.
the 1774 British Articles of War. In fact, our first codes, the American Articles of War and Articles for the Government of the Navy, predated the
Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Through the First World War, the codes and the system went through some amendments and revisions but
were substantially unchanged for more than 100 years.
Throughout most of this time period, we had a very small standing army. Those who entered the military understood that they were going to fall under a
different system of justice with unique and different procedures and punishments.
After unification of the armed services under the Department of Defense in 1947, Secretary Forrestal, the first Secretary of Defense, decided that
there should not be separate criminal law rules for the different branches of service. He desired a uniform code that would apply to all services. His
efforts set the stage for a new uniform system of discipline.
Role of Congress and The President.The foundation of military law is the Constitution of the
United States. The Constitution provides that Congress has responsibilities to make rules to regulate the military; it also establishes the President
as Commander in Chief of the armed forces.
Congress exercised its responsibilities over military justice by enacting the Uniform Code of Military Justice - the “UCMJ.” The UCMJ is
legislation that is contained in Title 10 of the United States Code, Sections 801 through 946. It is the military’s criminal code.
It was enacted in 1950 as a major revision of then-existing military criminal law, and became effective the following year. The structure of the
1950 UCMJ and the 1951 MCM provided substantial guarantees of an open and fair process that continue to exist today.
The UCMJ has been amended on a number of occasions since then, with significant changes occurring in 1968 and 1983. Some of the primary changes
enhanced the role of trial judges. The need for qualified military judges, who were experienced attorneys, to be in charge of the judicial process and
all courts-martial was made clear. Also, the requirement to have a licensed attorney as defense counsel in courts-martial was established.
In 1984, there was another substantial revision to the MCM and the military rules of evidence became substantially the same as the Federal Rules
of Evidence used in our Federal court system. The procedural requirements were also changed into Rules for Courts-Martial.
The UCMJ is essentially a complete set of criminal laws. It includes many crimes punished under civilian law (e.g., murder, rape, drug use, larceny,
drunk driving, etc.), but it also punishes other conduct that affects good order and discipline in the military. Those unique military crimes include,
for example, such offenses as desertion, absence without leave, disrespect towards superiors, failure to obey orders, dereliction of duty, wrongful
disposition of military property, drunk on duty, malingering, and conduct unbecoming an officer. The UCMJ also includes provisions punishing
misbehavior before the enemy, improper use of countersign, misbehavior of a sentinel, misconduct as a prisoner, aiding the enemy, spying, and
The UCMJ is implemented through Executive Orders of the President of the United States pursuant to his authority under Article 36, UCMJ (10 USC §
836). Those Executive Orders form a comprehensive volume of law known as the Manual for Courts-Martial (“MCM”). The Preamble to the MCM explains
“The purpose of military law is to promote justice, to assist in maintaining good order and
discipline in the armed forces, to promote efficiency and effectiveness in the military
establishment, and thereby to strengthen the national security of the United States.”
Commanders are given significant roles in the military justice system because discipline is essential to mission readiness. At the same time,
there are extensive safeguards to protect against abuse of authority. In the opinion of many legal scholars, the UCMJ has not only kept pace with
innovations in civilian criminal jurisprudence, but has actually led the way, establishing more safeguards to protect the rights of those accused of
criminal offenses. The UCMJ and MCM are primarily kept current with the basic principles of American jurisprudence through two standing committees,
The Code Committee and the Joint Service Committee on Military Justice.
A little bit about my Self I was an MP (Military Police) for almost six years. Feel free to ask me any questions you have about any thing I'll try to
answer them to the best of my ability