32 CFR Appendix A to Part 152, Guidance to the Joint Service Committee (JSCA)
(a)Review the Manual for Courts-Martial.
(1) The Joint Service Committee (JSC) shall conduct an annual review of the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM), in light of judicial and legislative developments in military and civilian practice, to ensure:
(i) The MCM implements the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and reflects current military practice and judicial precedent.
(ii) The rules and procedures of the MCM are uniform insofar as practicable.
(iii) The MCM applies, to the extent practicable, the principles of law and the rules of evidence generally recognized in the trial of criminal cases in United States district courts, but which are not contrary to or inconsistent with the UCMJ.
(iv) The MCM is workable throughout the worldwide jurisdiction of the UCMJ; and,
(v) The MCM is workable across the spectrum of circumstances in which courts-martial are conducted, including combat conditions.
(2) During this review, any JSC voting member may propose for the Voting Group's consideration an amendment to the MCM. Proposed amendments to the MCM shall ordinarily be referred to the JSC Working Group (WG) for study. The WG assists the JSC in staffing various proposals, conducting studies of proposals and other military justice related topics at the JSC's direction, and making reports to the JSC. Any proposed amendment to the MCM, if approved by a majority of the JSC voting members, becomes a part of the annual review.
(3) The JSC shall prepare a draft of the annual review of the MCM and forward it to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, on or about December 31st. The General Counsel of the Department of Defense may submit the draft of the annual review to the Code Committee established by Article 146 of the UCMJ, with an invitation to submit comments.
(4) The draft of the annual review shall set forth any specific recommendations for changes to the MCM, including, if not adequately addressed in the accompanying discussion or analysis, a concise statement of the basis and purpose of any proposed change. If no changes are recommended, the draft review shall so state. If the JSC recommends changes to the MCM, the draft review shall so state. If the JSC recommends changes to the MCM, the public notice procedures of paragraph (d)(3) of this appendix are applicable.
(b)Changes to the Manual for Courts-Martial.
(1) By January 1st of each year, the JSC voting members shall ensure that a solicitation for proposed changes to the MCM is sent to appropriate agencies within their respective Services that includes, but is not limited to, the judiciary, the trial counsel and defense counsel organizations, and the judge advocate general schools.
(2) The Federal Register announcement of each year's annual review of proposed changes to the MCM shall also invite members of the public to submit any new proposals for JSC consideration during subsequent JSC annual reviews.
(3) When the JSC receives proposed changes to the MCM either by solicitation or Federal Register notice, the JSC shall determine whether the proposal should be considered under paragraph (a)(2) of this appendix by determining if one or more of the JSC voting member(s) intends to sponsor the proposed change. The JSC shall determine when such sponsored proposals should be considered under the annual review process, taking into account any other proposals under consideration and any other reviews or studies directed by the General Counsel of the Department of Defense.
(4) Changes to the MCM shall be proposed as part of the annual review conducted under paragraph (a) of this appendix. When earlier implementation is required, the JSC may send proposed changes to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, for coordination under DoD Directive 5500.1. 3
3 Available at http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives.
(c)Proposals to Amend the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The JSC may determine that the efficient administration of military justice within the Armed Services requires amendments to the UCMJ, or that a desired amendment to the MCM makes necessary an amendment to the UCMJ. In such cases, the JSC shall forward to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, a legislative proposal to change the UCMJ. The General Counsel of the Department of Defense may direct that the JSC forward any such legislative proposal to the Code Committee for its consideration under Article 146, UCMJ.
(d)Public Notice and Meeting.
(1) Proposals to amend the UCMJ are not governed by the procedures set out in this paragraph. (See DoD Directive 5105. 18. This paragraph applies only to the JSC recommendations to amend the MCM.)
(2) It is DoD policy to encourage public participation in the JSC's review of the MCM. Notice that the Department of Defense, through the JSC, intends to propose changes to the MCM normally shall be published in the Federal Register before submission of such changes to the President. This notice is not required when the Secretary of Defense in his sole and unreviewable discretion proposes that the President issue the change without such notice on the basis that public notice procedures, as set forth in this part, are unnecessary or contrary to the sound administration of military justice, or a MCM change corresponding to legislation is expeditiously required to keep the MCM current and consistent with changes in applicable law.
(3) The Office of General Counsel of the Department of Defense shall facilitate publishing the Federal Register notice required under this paragraph.
(4) The notice under this paragraph shall consist of the publication of the full text of the proposed changes, including discussion and analysis, unless the General Counsel of the Department of Defense determines that such publication in full would unduly burden the Federal Register, the time and place where a copy of the proposed change may be examined, and the procedure for obtaining access to or a copy of the proposed change.
(5) A period of not fewer than 60 days after publication of notice normally shall be allowed for public comment, but a shorter period may be authorized when the General Counsel of the Department of Defense determines that a 60-day period is unnecessary or is contrary to the sound administration of military justice. The Federal Register notice shall normally indicate that public comments shall be submitted to the Executive Secretary of the JSC.
(6) The JSC shall provide notice in the Federal Register and hold a public meeting during the public comments period, where interested persons shall be given a reasonable opportunity to submit views on any of the proposed changes contained in the annual review. Public proposals and comments to the JSC should include a reference to the specific provision to be changed, a rational for the proposed change, and specific and detailed proposed language to replace the current language. Incomplete submissions might be insufficient to receive the consideration desired. The JSC shall seek to consider all views presented at the public meeting as well as any written comments submitted during the 60-day period when determining the final form of any proposed amendments to the MCM.
(E)Internal Rules and Record-Keeping.
(1) In furthering DoD policy, studying issues, or performing other duties relating to the administration of military justice, the JSC may establish internal rules governing its operation.
(2) The JSC shall create a file system and maintain appropriate JSC records.