The National Institute of Military Justice has spent the last two years gathering data and working to recreate our website. We want to thank CAAFLog for their hosting of NIMJ in the last several years, and we hope the new website will be a good complement to the great work done by CAAFLog to support knowledge on military justice.
NIMJ focuses on military justice, which includes both courts-martial and military commissions, international humanitarian law, and veteran’s issues that are affected by military justice system. This is a dynamic time to be involved in military justice. In the last several years, the Uniform Code of Military Justice has undergone substantial changes, changes that go to the heart of the relationship between justice and discipline. As stated in the 1960 Powell Report on Good Order and Discipline in the Army,
To many civilians discipline is synonymous with punishment. To the military man discipline connotes something vastly different. It means an attitude of respect for authority developed by precept and by training. Discipline-a state of mind which leads to a willingness to obey an order no matter how unpleasant or dangerous the task to be performed-is not characteristic of a civilian community. Development of this state of mind among soldiers is a command responsibility and a necessity. In the development of discipline, correction of individuals is indispensable; in correction, fairness or justice is indispensable. Thus, it is a mistake to talk of balancing discipline and justice-the two are inseparable. An unfair or unjust correction never promotes the development of discipline. As stated in our preliminary report, “All correction must be fair; both officers and soldiers must believe that it is fair.”
This is the task that remains for our leaders, our Government, our military, and our Nation in 2018, a task as challenging now as in 1960. We hope that the resources, documents, links, and other material on NIMJ’s new website will assist those soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, and equally importantly, those citizens, who want to contribute to this critical mission. The American military is a uniquely American institution, and its justice system must be designed to function in a democracy, with appropriate checks, balances, and oversight. Just as the relationship between justice and discipline is fundamentally intertwined, the US military’s fundamental mission to fight and win our nation’s wars is similarly intertwined with its democratic values. I hope that you join the National Institute of Military Justice as we enter our 27th year educating America about its justice system and advocating for its fair administration.
President, National Institute of Military Justice