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Restructuring U.S. Military Justice Through a Comparative Analysis of Israel Defense Forces

Item

Title

Restructuring U.S. Military Justice Through a Comparative Analysis of Israel Defense Forces

Creator

Date

2019

Volume

34

Issue

2

Bibliographic Citation

34 Wis. J. L. Gender, & Soc'y 179 (2019)

Abstract

The military justice system is broken. Currently, commanders have almost complete discretion to decide how to handle an allegation of military sexual assault. This unchecked command discretion chills victim reporting andjosters a culture of sexual assault that is unparalleled in the civilian criminal justice system. Command discretion is further flawed because commanders are unable to dispose of sexual assault cases in an unbiased and educated manner. Congress has failed to adequately safeguard sexual assault victims ' rights in past and present National Defense Authorization Acts. Proposed legislation in the Military Justice Improvement Act, however, restructures the military justice system to provide a system that removes sexual assault allegations from the chain of command, while preserving the commanding officer's authority to dispose of crimes unique to the military. The Military Justice Improvement Act is modeled on Israel's Military Justice Law that removed sexual assault allegations from the chain command Removing the allegations of sexual assault from the chain of command increased reporting and prosecution rates. Notably, removing these allegations from the chain of command has not affected Israel's military readiness-a frequent argument of proponents who contend that eliminating a commander's discretion to handle these allegations will somehow diminish military readiness. This article compares the current military justice system to the civilian criminal justice system and to Israel's military justice system to highlight the shortcomings of the current system. The article then examines how the Military Justice Improvement Act addresses and remedies the shortcomings of the current military justice system. Finally, the article addresses frequent arguments against military justice reform by reference to the success of Israel's reformed military justice system, and advocates for the adoption of the Military Justice Improvement Act.