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Military Justice: Getting Started

Focus of this Guide

The focus of this guide is research into issues surrounding prosecution of individuals in the United States as part of the court-martial procedures under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  This focus of the guide is not on the operation of military tribunals under alternate authority.

Military Terms

Those unfamiliar with the military may have difficulty with the definition of terms or the many acronyms used in the military.  The sources listed below will assist the unfamiliar in developing an understanding of terms.

1) DOD Definition of Military Terms 

2) Acronym Finder 

Research Guides

If you are not familiar with the topic, you may find that a research guide is a useful tool to assist you with your research. You should review the date the research guide was last updated.  Using a research guides updated in the last year will help ensure you are relying on current information.  However, if you are conducting historical research, an older guide may be helpful.

Below are two sample research guides on military justice or military law topics:

1) Published in 2004, Reporting for Duty:  A Primer on Researching Military Justice in Law Library Lights, the newsletter of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C., is an excellent source to assist in military justice research.

2)  Leah Sandwell-Weiss, University of Arizona Law Library, Military Legal Materials (updated April 2017). 

Additional resources that may be helpful include:

1) WashLaw, Military, National Security & Defense (No date).

2) Library of Congress, Military Legal Resources (No date).

National Institute of Military Justice (NIMJ) - CAAFlog (CAAF- Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces)

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Overview of the Court-Martial System

R. Chuck Mason, Military Justice: Courts-Martial, An Overview, Congressional Research Service (March 31, 2011)

Military Justice:  Courts-Martial, An Overview, reports on the military justice system setting forth the types of courts-martial, the basis for convening a courts-martial, and compares the Constitutional safeguards available in the civilian court system with safeguards put in place by the Uniform Code of Military Justice for military courts. 

Air Force Court-martial Docket

In 2009 the Air Force began to provide a docket of courts-martial.

Links to various Navy judicial circuits are available via the U.S. Navy JAG Corps Trial Judiciary webpage.

The Army also provides a tool to locate court-martial docket information at https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/Apps/eDocket/eDocketPublic.nsf.

Service-Specific Military Justice Resources

Each service has a deskbook or other resource that outlines general military justice concepts as well as service specific details regarding the administration of justice based on differences in service regulations and instructions. Below are links to information about several such resources. Links to the full-text sources are provided when available. 

800 N. Harvey Oklahoma City, OK 73102 405.208.5271