Minding the Gap--Addressing Civilian Misconduct in Deployed Environments By Reviving Article 2, Uniform Code of Military Justice Open Access
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Minding the Gap--Addressing Civilian Misconduct in Deployed Environments By Reviving Article 2, Uniform Code of Military JusticeThe Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of State (DoS) both have worldwide footprints; federal civilian employees from both departments and the civilian contractors they employ deploy to nearly every location that active duty personnel are found, including in combat zones. However, unlike members of the armed forces who answer to a single military commander for their actions and are subject to a uniform code of discipline--specifically, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)--DoD and DoS civilian employees and contractors are generally not subject to the administrative or disciplinary control of any person physically in country with the ability to subject them to any form of meaningful discipline. Although Article 2(a) of the UCMJ also contains provisions that provide authority for the military to govern the conduct of civilians who accompany the Armed Forces, these provisions have largely lain dormant.This paper posits that reviving Article 2(a)(10) of the UCMJ by placing all federal civilian employees who deploy to combat zones in support of military operations under military jurisdiction would go far in resolving the accountability issues that exist. If federal civilians are subject to military control, it would reasonably follow that the contractors they hire should be similarly subject to the same control.