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    National Guard commanders receive Military Justice Act training

    National Guard commanders receive Military Justice Act training

    Photo By Capt. Natasha Fultz-Castro | U.S. Army Capt. Kevin Anderson, 18th Field Artillery Brigade trial counsel, instructs...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Natasha Fultz-Castro 

    18th Field Artillery Brigade

    CAMP REDLEG, United Arab Emirates -- Battery commanders with Wisconsin National Guard's 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery Regiment attentively listened during military justice training recently conducted here. U.S. Army Capt. Kevin Anderson, 18th Field Artillery Brigade trial counsel, instructed a military justice class to inform commanders of the most recent changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice under the Military Justice Act of 2016.

    The UCMJ is the foundation of military law in the United States and applies to all members of the U.S. armed forces. The MJA16 includes the most extensive changes to the UCMJ in over 60 years and became effective Jan. 1, 2019.

    Anderson previously trained brigade and battalion commanders to meet the intent of the judge advocate general. However, he felt the training was beneficial to commanders at all levels and held a class for battery-level commanders who are currently deployed in support of Operation Spartan Shield.

    "Commanders are the foundation of discipline," he said. "The battery commanders will be better equipped with information that will assist them with instilling good order and discipline across their formations."

    Capt. Nicholas Rinaldi, commander of Wisconsin National Guard's Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1-121 FAR attended the training.

    Rinaldi said that the most enlightening information was the change under Article 132: Retaliation. Article 132 primarily focuses on the abuse of otherwise lawful military authority for the purpose of retaliating against anyone who reports a criminal offense. For example, if someone reports an offense, the commander now has a new tool to protect the individual for reporting a criminal offense or making a protected communication, he said.

    The UCMJ process for National Guard Soldiers slightly differs than for active duty Soldiers. Due to our military training schedule, the UCMJ process is severely degraded because it could take months to process, said Rinaldi. "When we are home, we are under the civil authority of the state 99 percent of the time," he said. "By the time we are notified of the individual's offense, we are usually handing them papers through bars."

    Despite the differences, Rinaldi thought the information was useful.

    Overall, I feel that I am much better prepared in the UCMJ process, he said. "I have tools at my disposal that assist me with ensuring that Soldiers are protected, the unit is protected and I'm exercising the process correctly."

    Article 132 was not the only new offense added to the UCMJ. Changes to the UCMJ were mostly due to reoccurring trends across the Army -- changes in technology, identity theft and prohibited activities with military recruits and trainees, said Anderson.

    As technology and society changed, Congress had to make changes to the UCMJ, he added. "Commanders play a vital role in the UCMJ process and they are the ones who will implement the changes."



    Date Taken: 01.25.2019
    Date Posted: 02.18.2019 06:08
    Story ID: 311051
    Location: AE

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