Tag Archives: regulations

New Army command policy reg

The Army has just released a new version of AR 600-20, “Army Command Policy” (PDF).

This reg gives commanding officers direction on a wide range of issues, including Article 138 complaints, dissent policy, sexual assault and sexual harassment, etc. The new version updates Army equal opportunity policy, gives additional guidance on sexual assault/harassment policy, clarifies groups of personnel who must be informed of accommodation of religious practices policies and discusses those policies, incorporates policies from Army Directive 2013-18 on participation in extremist, terrorist and criminal gang organizations and activities, clarifies fraternization policy, adds “bullying” as prohibited conduct (along with hazing), defines a protected communication, etc.

The reg has garnered public attention because it lists the word “Negro” as an acceptable term; this section is now being reconsidered, according to the Army Times.

Update 11/7/2014: Use of word ‘Negro’ removed from new Army reg

Military Law and the New NDAA

Changes include sexual assault reform, repeal of sodomy ban, numerous other important updates to UCMJ, court-martial procedure.

This article first appeared in the March 2014 issue of On Watch, MLTF’s quarterly newsletter and military law journal. 

The new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2014, enacted Dec. 26, 2013, contains a number of significant changes to the UCMJ and court-martial procedure, some but not all are focused on military sexual assault cases. These changes are summarized below; their implications for court-martial practice will be discussed in future issues of On Watch.

Marines implement new standards for conscientious objectors

By Bill Galvin

In a new version of Marine Corps Order (MCO) 1306.16, issued in June of this year, the Department of the Navy, Marine Corps Headquarters, heightened the evidentiary standard a conscientious objector (CO) must meet. This reissue rescinds the previous version, which dates back to 1986.

MCO 1306.16F (2013) Download PDF    MLTF was unable to find any web page where there was public access to the new regs, so we are hosting this copy of the order, until such time that an official version is found. 

For the most part, the new MCO is the same. Some sections have been reworded, but essentially say the same thing. In some such cases the tone of the new wording favors the CO, while in others it seems to favor the command.

However, there are two important substantive changes.

Revised regs on sexual assault, involuntary psych evaluations

DoD has reissued DoD Instruction 6495.02, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program Procedures, dated March 28, 2013, adding requirements of the National Defense Authorization Act.

In addition, DoD recently reissued its Instruction on involuntary psychiatric evaluation and hospitalization, DoD Instruction 6490.04, Mental Health Evaluations of Members of the Military Services, dated March 4, 2013.

Should we be worried?: Changes made in DOD Instruction “Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces”

Discussion and commentary by James M. Branum, MLTF Chair

On February 22, 2012, the Department of Defense made major changes to DOD Instruction 1325.06 (PDF download).

These changes appear to be part of a major military policy change that is designed to stifle and suppress a growing GI movement against the wars in the Middle East.

Some of the more troubling changes include:

Enclosure 3, section 2. OFF-POST GATHERING PLACES. Commanders have the authority to place establishments off-limits in accordance with established procedures when, for example, the activities taking place there at these establishments include, but are not limited to, counseling, encouraging, or inciting Service members to refuse to perform duty or to desert; pose a significant adverse effect on Service members’ health, morale, or welfare; or otherwise present a clear danger to the loyalty, discipline, or morale of a member or military unit.

The changes in this section certainly appear to be directed at the GI coffeehouses at Fort Hood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Free speech and GI Rights advocates need to be ready to respond to possible moves by commanders to place the coffeehouses off-limits under this newly revised regulation.

Also one could argue that a commander could place a Mennonite Church or a Quaker Meetinghouse on the off-limits list, since these establishments have been known to encourage their members to resist participation in war.

 

Enclosure 3, Section 8. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES

a. Military personnel must not actively advocate supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes, including those that advance, encourage, or advocate illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin or those that advance, encourage, or advocate the use of force, violence, or criminal activity or otherwise advance efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights.

b. Military personnel must reject active participation in criminal gangs pursuant to section 544 of Public Law 110-181 (Reference (i)) and in other organizations that advocate supremacist, extremist, or criminal gang doctrine, ideology, or causes; including those that attempt to create illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin; advocate the use of force, violence, or criminal activity; or otherwise engage in efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights. Active participation in such gangs or organizations is prohibited. Active participation includes, but is not limited to, fundraising; demonstrating or rallying; recruiting, training, organizing, or leading members; distributing material (including posting online); knowingly wearing gang colors or clothing; having tattoos or body markings associated with such gangs or organizations; or otherwise engaging in activities in furtherance of the objective of such gangs or organizations that are detrimental to good order, discipline, or mission accomplishment or are incompatible with military service.

c. Commanders have the authority to employ the full range of administrative and disciplinary actions, including administrative separation or appropriate criminal action, against military personnel who engage in activity prohibited in paragraphs 8.a. or 8.b. of this enclosure when such conduct or activity is detrimental to good order and discipline or is service discrediting.

d. The functions of command include vigilance about the existence of such activities; active use of investigative authority to include a prompt and fair complaint process; and use of administrative powers such as counseling, reprimands, orders, and performance evaluations to deter such activities.

e. The Military Departments shall ensure that the policy and procedures on prohibited activities in this Instruction are included in initial active duty training, precommissioning training, professional military education, commander training, and other appropriate Service
training programs.

On the surface, this section may not look so troubling. The military has, at least officially, long banned its members from active participation in hate groups. However, if read carefully, these changes are in fact very troubling. First, the DOD does not define the term “extremist” anywhere in this regulation, which opens the door for soldiers to be prosecuted for mere membership in peaceful organizations that are deemed to be “extremist.”

Secondly, the DOD has omitted the requirement (previously found in section 8 (c) above), that prohibited conduct or activity in a banned organization must be “detrimental to good order and discipline or is service discrediting.”

Third, the DOD has now banned even the wearing of clothing or colors off-post that would reflect membership in one of the loosely defined banned organizations.


Enclosure 3, Section 9. PREVENTIVE ACTIVITIES

a. Commanders should remain alert for signs of future prohibited activities. They should intervene early, primarily through counseling, when observing such signs even though the signs may not rise to active advocacy or active participation or may not threaten good order and discipline, but only suggest such potential. The goal of early intervention is to minimize the risk of future prohibited activities.

b. Examples of such signs, which, in the absence of the active advocacy or active participation addressed in paragraphs 8.a and 8.b are not prohibited, could include mere membership in criminal gangs and other organizations covered under paragraph 8.b. Signs could also include possession of literature associated with such gangs or organizations, or with related ideology, doctrine, or causes. While mere membership or possession of literature normally is not prohibited, it may merit further investigation and possibly counseling to emphasize the importance of adherence to the Department’s values and to ensure that the Service member understands what activities are prohibited.

This entire section is completely new to the regulation, and requires that commanders be alert for “future prohibited activities.” While the regulation tries to skirt the line of not violating the First Amendment (i.e. “mere membership or possession of literature” is not prohibited), it makes it clear that commanders are expected to “investigate” such soldiers, which will inevitably result in negative counseling statements (blackmarks against a soldier’s record) and subsequent harassment from NCO’s (non-commissioned officers).

As a whole, the newly revised DOD Instruction 1325.06 poses serious dangers for the civil liberties of all military servicemembers. We at the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild remain ready to do our part to protect soldiers in need. Please do not hesitate to contact us, if we can be of assistance.

UPDATE ADDED ON FEBRUARY 25, 2012: In section 8 (b) above, the DOD bans organizations that “attempt to create illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, ethnicity, or national origin.” Interesting enough, in the post-DADT era, sexual orientation didn’t make the list.