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10 U.S. Code § 903 - Art. 103. Spies

Any person who in time of war is found lurking as a spy or acting as a spy in or about any place, vessel, or aircraft, within the control or jurisdiction of any of the armed forces, or in or about any shipyard, any manufacturing or industrial plant, or any other place or institution engaged in work in aid of the prosecution of the war by the United States, or elsewhere, shall be tried by a general court-martial or by a military commission and on conviction shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial or a military commission may direct. This section does not apply to a military commission established under chapter 47A of this title.

(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 71, § 906; Pub. L. 109–366, § 4(a)(2), Oct. 17, 2006, 120 Stat. 2631; renumbered § 903 and amended Pub. L. 114–328, div. E, title LX, §§ 5401(7), 5414, Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2938, 2944.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Revised section

Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)



May 5, 1950, ch. 169, § 1 (Art. 106), 64 Stat. 138.

The words “of the United States” are omitted as surplusage.

Editorial Notes
Prior Provisions

A prior section 903 was renumbered section 908a of this title.


2016—Pub. L. 114–328, § 5414, inserted “or such other punishment as a court-martial or a military commission may direct” after “punished by death”.

Pub. L. 114–328, § 5401(7), renumbered section 906 of this title as this section.

2006—Pub. L. 109–366 inserted last sentence.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date of 2016 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 114–328 effective on Jan. 1, 2019, as designated by the President, with implementing regulations and provisions relating to applicability to various situations, see section 5542 of Pub. L. 114–328 and Ex. Ord. No. 13825, set out as notes under section 801 of this title.

Executive Documents
Proclamation No. 2561. Enemies Denied Access to United States Courts

Proc. No. 2561, July 2, 1942, 7 F.R. 5101, 56 Stat. 1964, provided:

Whereas the safety of the United States demands that all enemies who have entered upon the territory of the United States as part of an invasion or predatory incursion, or who have entered in order to commit sabotage, espionage or other hostile or warlike acts, should be promptly tried in accordance with the law of war;

Now, therefore, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the statutes of the United States, do hereby proclaim that all persons who are subjects, citizens or residents of any nation at war with the United States or who give obedience to or act under the direction of any such nation, and who during time of war enter or attempt to enter the United States or any territory or possession thereof, through coastal or boundary defenses, and are charged with committing or attempting or preparing to commit sabotage, espionage, hostile or warlike acts, or violations of the law of war, shall be subject to the law of war and to the jurisdiction of military tribunals; and that such persons shall not be privileged to seek any remedy or maintain any proceeding directly or indirectly, or to have any such remedy or proceeding sought on their behalf, in the courts of the United States, or of its States, territories, and possessions, except under such regulations as the Attorney General, with the approval of the Secretary of War, may from time to time prescribe.