Uniform Code of Military Justice: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ, 64 Stat. 109, 10 U.S.C. Chapter 47), is the foundation of military law in the United States. The UCMJ applies to all members of the Uniformed services of the United States: the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. The Coast Guard is administered under Title 14 of the United States Code when not operating as part of the U.S. Navy. However, commissioned members of the NOAA and PHS are only subject to the UCMJ when attached or detailed to a military unit or are militarized by presidential executive order.

Members of the military Reserve Components under Title 10 of the United States Code (Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Forces Reserve, and Air Force Reserve) or Title 14 of the United States Code, Coast Guard Reserve when not operating as part of the U.S. Navy, are subject to the UCMJ if they are either (a) active duty Full-Time Support personnel such as FTS or Active Guard and Reserve (AGR), or (b) traditional part-time reservists performing either (a) full-time active duty for a specific period (i.e., Annual Training, Active Duty for Training, Active Duty for Operational Support, Active Duty Special Work, One Year Recall, Three Year Recall, Canvasser Recruiter, Mobilization, etc.), or (b) performing Inactive Duty (i.e. Inactive Duty Training, Inactive Duty Travel and Training, Unit Training Assembly, Additional Training Periods, Additional Flying Training Periods, Reserve Management Periods, etc., all of which are colloquially known as "drills").

Soldiers and airmen in the National Guard of the United States are subject to the UCMJ only if activated in a Federal capacity under Title 10 by an executive order issued by the President. Otherwise, members of the National Guard of the United States are exempt from the UCMJ. However, under Title 32 orders, National Guard soldiers are still subject to their respective state codes of Military justice.

Cadets and midshipmen at the United States Military Academy, United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, United States Merchant Marine Academy, and United States Coast Guard Academy are also subject to the UCMJ. On the other hand, Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) cadets and midshipmen are by law exempt from the UCMJ (even while on active duty for training such as CTLT, LTC, LDAC, or while attending various training schools such as Airborne School, Air Assault School, Mountain Warfare School, etc.).

Members of military auxiliaries such as the Civil Air Patrol and the Coast Guard Auxiliary are not subject to the UCMJ. However, members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary can be called by the Commandant of the Coast Guard into the Temporary Reserve, in which case they become subject to the UCMJ.

Retired members of the uniformed services who are entitled to retirement pay are also subject to the UCMJ, as are retired reservists who are receiving hospital care in the VA system.



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.[1] 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 is printed in the latest version of the Manual for Courts-Martial (2008), incorporating changes made by the President (executive orders) and National Defense Authorization Acts 2006 and 2007.

Current Subchapters

The UCMJ is found in Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47 of the United States Code.

Subchapter Title Section Article
I General Provisions § 801 1
II Apprehension and Restraint § 807 7
III Non-Judicial Punishment § 815 15
IV Court-Martial Jurisdiction § 816 16
V Composition of Courts-Martial § 822 22
VI Pre-Trial Procedure § 830 30
VII Trial Procedure § 836 36
VIII Sentences § 855 55
IX Post-Trial Procedure and Review of Courts-Martial § 859 59
X Punitive Articles § 877 77
XI Miscellaneous Provisions § 935 135
XII Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces § 941 141

General Provisions

Subchapter I, "General Provisions" has six sections (articles):

Section Article Title
§ 801 1 Definitions
§ 802 2 Persons subject to this chapter
§ 803 3 Jurisdiction to try certain personnel
§ 804 4 Dismissed officer's right to trial by court-martial
§ 805 5 Territorial applicability of this chapter
§ 806 6 Judge advocates and legal officers
§ 806a 6a Investigation and disposition of matters pertaining to the fitness of military judges

Article 1, "Definitions", defines terms used in the rest of the UCMJ: "Judge Advocate General", "the Navy, the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard when it is operating as a service in the Navy, shall be considered as one armed force", "officer in charge", "superior commissioned officer", "cadet", "midshipman", "military", "accuser", "military judge", "law specialist", "legal officer", "judge advocate", "record", "classified information" and "national security".10 U.S.C. § 801 (Article 1. Definitions)

Pre-Trial Procedure

Section Article Title
§ 830. 30 Charges and specifications
§ 831 31 Compulsory self-incrimination prohibited
§ 832 32 Investigation
§ 833 33 Forwarding of charges
§ 834 34 Advice of staff judge advocate and reference for trial
§ 835 35 Service of charges

Under Article 31, coercive self-incrimination is prohibited as a right under the Fifth Amendment. Arresting officers utilize the Article 31 warning and waiver as a means to prevent this self-incrimination, much like the Miranda warning. Article 31 was already well-established before Miranda.

Punitive Articles

Subchapter X, "Punitive Articles," is the subchapter that details offenses under the uniform code:

Section Article Title
§ 877 77 Principals
§ 878 78 Accessory after the fact
§ 879 79 Conviction of lesser included offense.
§ 880 80 Attempts
§ 881 81 Conspiracy
§ 882 82 Solicitation
§ 883 83 Fraudulent enlistment, appointment, or separation
§ 884 84 Unlawful enlistment, appointment, or separation
§ 885 85 Desertion
§ 886 86 Absence without leave
§ 887 87 Missing movement
§ 888 88 Contempt toward officials
§ 889 89 Disrespect toward superior commissioned officer
§ 890 90 Assaulting or willfully disobeying superior commissioned officer
§ 891 91 Insubordinate conduct toward warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer
§ 892 92 Failure to obey order or regulation
§ 893 93 Cruelty and maltreatment
§ 894 94 Mutiny or sedition
§ 895 95 Resistance, flight, breach of arrest, and escape
§ 896 96 Releasing prisoner without proper authority
§ 897 97 Unlawful detention
§ 898 98 Noncompliance with procedural rules
§ 899 99 Misbehavior before the enemy
§ 900 100 Subordinate compelling surrender
§ 901 101 Improper use of countersign
§ 902 102 Forcing a safeguard
§ 903 103 Captured or abandoned property
§ 904 104 Aiding the enemy
§ 905 105 Misconduct as prisoner
§ 906 106 Spies
§ 906a 106a Espionage
§ 907 107 False official statements
§ 908 108 Military property of United States—Loss, damage, destruction, or wrongful disposition
§ 909 109 Property other than military property of United States—waste, spoilage, or destruction
§ 910 110 Improper hazarding of vessel
§ 911 111 Drunken or reckless operation of a vehicle, aircraft, or vessel
§ 912 112 Drunk on duty
§ 912a 112a Wrongful use, possession, etc., of controlled substances
§ 913 113 Misbehavior of sentinel
§ 914 114 Dueling
§ 915 115 Malingering
§ 916 116 Riot or breach of peace
§ 917 117 Provoking speeches or gestures
§ 918 118 Murder
§ 919 119 Manslaughter
§ 919 119a Death or injury of an unborn child
§ 920 120 Rape and carnal knowledge
§ 920a 120a Stalking
§ 921 121 Larceny and wrongful appropriation
§ 922 122 Robbery
§ 923 123 Forgery
§ 923a 123a Making, drawing, or uttering check, draft, or order without sufficient funds
§ 924 124 Maiming
§ 925 125 Sodomy
§ 926 126 Arson
§ 927 127 Extortion
§ 928 128 Assault
§ 929 129 Burglary
§ 930 130 Housebreaking
§ 931 131 Perjury
§ 932 132 Frauds against the United States
§ 933 133 Conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman
§ 934 134 General article

Note that Article 134 encompasses offenses that are not specifically listed in the Manual for Courts-Martial, That is to say, "all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty,". Article 134 is often considered to be a "catch-all" for various offenses that aren't necessarily covered by the other articles in the UCMJ. Article 134 offenses include disloyal statements, abusing public animal, adultery, bigamy, bribery and graft, drinking liquor with prisoner, fleeing scene of accident, fraternization, gambling with subordinate, et al. It’s colloquially referred to as the “Write your own law” or “Don’t be stupid” article, and reflect acts that are not specifically listed, but nevertheless committed, by military personnel that negatively impact the service, unit, etc.

Further reading

DA Pam 27-9 Military Judges Benchbook (.PDF)

Military Law Review. ISSN 0026-4040

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Const., Art. I, Sec. 8

External links

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

United States Code
by the United States Government
Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47
Chapter 47 is also refered to as the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun

Uniform Code of Military Justice


Uniform Code of Military Justice

  1. (US, military) The code of military law written for the use of the United States Armed Forces.

See also

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