Public Law 81-506

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An Act
To unify, consolidate, revise, and codify the Articles of War, the Articles for the Government of the Navy, and the disciplinary laws of the Coast Guard, and to enact and establish a Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
That a Uniform Code of Military Justice for the government of the armed forces of the United States, unifying, consolidating, revising, and codifying the Articles of War, the Articles for the Government of the Navy, and the disciplinary laws of the Coast Guard, is hereby enacted as follows, and the articles in this section may be cited as ``Uniform Code of Military Justice, Article     ´´.

uniform code of military justice

Part Article
I. General Provisions 1
II. Apprehension and Restraint 7
III. Non-Judicial Punishment 15
IV. Courts-Martial Jurisdiction 16
V. Appointment and Composition of Courts-Martial 22
VI. Pre-Trial Procedure 30
VII. Trial Procedure 36
VIII. Sentences 55
IX. Review of Courts-Martial 59
X. Punitive Articles 77
XI. Miscellaneous Provisions 135

Sec. 2. Separability.[edit]

If any article or part thereof, as set out in section 1 of this Act, shall be held invalid, the remainder shall not be affected thereby.

Sec. 3.[edit]

No inference of a legislative construction is to be drawn by reason of the part in which any article is placed nor by reason of the catch lines of the part or the article as set out in section 1 of this Act.

Sec. 4.[edit]

All offenses committed and all penalties, forfeitures, fines, or liabilities incurred prior to the effective date of this Act under any law embraced in or modified, changed, or repealed by this Act may be prosecuted, punished, and enforced, and action thereon may be completed, in the same manner and with the same effect as if this Act had not been passed.

Sec. 5. Effective Date.[edit]

This Act shall become effective on the last day of the twelfth month after approval of this Act, or on July 1, 1950, whichever date is later:
Provided, That the provisions of article 67 (a) of this Act shall become effective on the last day of the ninth month after approval of this Act:
Provided further, That the provisions of section 12 of this Act shall become effective on the date of the approval of this Act.

Sec. 6.[edit]

Articles of War 107, 108, 112, 113, 119, and 120 (41 Stat. 809, 810, 811), as amended, are further amended as follows:
(a) Delete from article 107, the words ‘‘Article 107.’’
(b) Delete from article 108, the words ‘‘Article 108.’’
(c) Delete from article 112, the words ‘‘Article 112.’’
(d) Delete from article 113, the words ‘‘Article 113.’’
(e) Delete from article 119, the words ‘‘Article 119.’’
(f) Delete from article 120, the words ‘‘Article 120.’’
These provisions as amended herein shall be construed to have the same force, effect, and applicability as they now have, but shall not be known as ‘‘Articles of War’’.

Sec. 7.[edit]

(a) Authority of Naval Officers After Loss of Vessel or Aircraft.—When the crew of any naval vessel or naval aircraft are separated from their vessel or aircraft by means of its wreck, loss, or destruction, all the command and authority given to the officer of such vessel or aircraft shall remain in full force until such crew shall be regularly discharged or reassigned by competent authority.
(b) Authority of Officers of Separate Organization of Marines.—When a force of marines is embarked on a naval vessel or vessels, as a separate organization, not a part of the authorized complement thereof, the authority and powers of the officers of such separate organizations of marines shall be the same as though such organization were serving at a naval station on shore, but nothing herein shall be construed as impairing the paramount authority of the commanding officer of any vessel over the vessel under his command and all persons embarked thereon.
(c) Commanders' Duties of Example and Correction.—All commanding officers and others in authority in the naval service are required to show in themselves a good example of virtue, honor, patriotism, and subordination; to be vigilant in inspecting the conduct of all persons who are placed under their command; to guard against and suppress all dissolute and immoral practices, and to correct, according to the laws and regulations of the Navy, all persons who are guilty of them; and to take all necessary and proper measures, under the laws, regulations, and customs of the naval service, to promote and safeguard the morale, the physical well-being, and the general welfare of the officers and enlisted persons under their command or charge.
(d) Divine Service.—The commanders of vessels and naval activities to which chaplains are attached shall cause divine service to be performed on Sunday, whenever the weather and other circumstances allow it to be done; and it is earnestly recommended to all officers, seamen, and others in the naval service diligently to attend at every performance of the worship of Almighty God.
(e) Reverent Behavior.—All persons in the Navy are enjoined to behave themselves in a reverent and becoming manner during divine service.

Sec. 8. Oath of Enlistment.[edit]

Every person who is enlisted in any armed force shall take the following oath or affirmation at the time of his enlistment:

“I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the United States of America; that I will serve them honestly and faithfully against all their enemies whomsoever; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”

This oath or affirmation may be taken before any officer.

Sec. 9. Removal of Civil Suits.[edit]

When any civil or criminal prosecution is commenced in any court of a State of the United States against any member of the armed forces of the United States on account of any act done under color of his office or status, or in respect to which he claims any right, title, or authority under any law of the United States respecting the armed forces thereof, or under the law of war, such suit or prosecution may at any time before the trial or final hearing thereof be removed for trial into the district court of the United States in the district where the same is pending in the manner prescribed by law, and the cause shall thereupon be entered on the docket of such district court, which shall proceed as if the cause had been originally commenced therein and shall have full power to hear and determine said cause.

Sec. 10. Dismissal of Officers.[edit]

No officer shall be dismissed from any of the armed forces except by sentence of a general court-martial, or in commutation thereof, or, in time of war, by order of the President; but the President may at any time drop from the rolls of any armed force any officer who has been absent without authority from his place of duty for a period of three months or more, or who, having been found guilty by the civil authorities of any offense, is finally sentenced to confinement in a Federal or State penitentiary or correctional institution.

Sec. 11. Midshipmen.[edit]

The proviso of section 3 of the Act of April 9, 1906 (34 Stat. 104, ch. 1370), is amended to read as follows:
``Provided, That such midshipman shall not be confined in a military or naval prison or elsewhere with men who have been convicted of crimes or misdemeanors; and such finding and sentence shall be subject to review in the manner prescribed for general court-martial cases.´´

Sec. 12. Authority of Judge Advocate General.[edit]

Under such regulations as the President may prescribe, The Judge Advocate General of any of the armed forces is authorized upon application of an accused person, and upon good cause shown, in his discretion to grant a new trial, or to vacate a sentence, restore rights, privileges, and property affected by such sentence, and substitute for a dismissal, dishonorable discharge, or bad-conduct discharge, previously executed, a form of discharge authorized for administrative issuance, in any court-martial case involving offenses committed during World War II in which application is made within one year after termination of the war, or after its final disposition upon initial appellate review whichever is the later:
Provided, That only one such application for a new trial may be entertained with regard to any one case:
And provided further, Within the meaning of this section and of article of war 53, World War II shall be deemed to have ended as of the effective date of this Act.

Sec. 13. Qualifications of the Judge Advocates General.[edit]

Hereafter The Judge Advocate General of an armed force, exclusive of the present incumbents and exclusive of the Coast Guard, shall be appointed from among those officers who at the time of such appointment are members of the bar of a Federal court or the highest court of a State or Territory and who have had not less than a total of eight years' experience in legal duties as commissioned officers.

Sec. 14. Repeals.[edit]

The following sections or parts thereof of the Revised Statutes or Statutes at Large are hereby repealed. Any substantive rights or liabilities existing under such sections or parts thereof prior to the effective date of this Act shall not be affected by this repeal, and this Act shall not be effective to authorize trial or punishment for any offense if such trial or punishment is barred by the provisions of existing law:
(a) Chapter II of the Act of June 4, 1920 (41 Stat. 759, 787-811, ch. 227), as amended, except Articles of War 107, 108, 112, 113, 119, and 120;
(b) Revised Statutes, 1228 through 1230;
(c) Act of January 19, 1911 (36 Stat. 894, ch. 22);
(d) Paragraph 2 of section 2 of the Act of March 4, 1915 (38 Stat. 1062, 1084, ch. 143);
(e) Revised Statutes 1441, 1621, and 1624, articles 1 through 14 and 16 through 63, as amended;
(f) The provision of section 1457, Revised Statutes, which subjects officers retired from active service to the rules and articles for the government of the Navy and to trial by general court-martial;
(g) Section 2 of the Act of June 22, 1874 (18 Stat. 191, 192, ch. 392);
(h) The provision of the Act of March 3, 1893 (27 Stat. 715, 716, ch. 212), under the heading ‘‘Pay, Miscellaneous’’, relating to the punishment for fraudulent enlistment and receipt of any pay or allowances thereunder;
(i) Act of January 25, 1895 (28 Stat. 639, ch. 45), as amended;
(j) Provisions contained in the Act of March 2, 1895 (28 Stat. 825, 838, ch. 186), as amended, under the heading ‘‘Naval Academy’’, relating to the power of the Secretary of the Navy to convene general courts-martial for the trial of naval cadets (title changed to ‘‘midshipmen’’ by Act of July 1, 1902, 32 Stat. 662, 686, ch. 1368), his power to approve proceedings and execute sentences of such courts-martial, and the exceptional provision relating to approval, confirmation, and carrying into effect of sentences of suspension and dismissal;
(k) Sections 1 through 12 and 15 through 17 of the Act of February 16, 1909 (35 Stat. 621, 623, ch.131);
(l) The provision of the Act of August 29, 1916 (39 Stat. 556, 573, ch. 417), under the heading ‘‘Hospital Corps’’, making officers and enlisted men of the Medical Department of the Navy who are serving with a body of marines detached for service with the Army subject to the rules and Articles of War while so serving;
(m) The provisions in the Act of August 29, 1916 (39 Stat. 556, 586, ch. 417), under the heading ‘‘Administration of Justice’’;
(n) Act of October 6, 1917 (40 Stat. 393, ch. 93);
(o) Act of April 2, 1918 (40 Stat. 501, ch. 39);
(p) Act of April 25, 1935 (49 Stat. 161, ch. 81);
(q) The provision of section 6, title I, of the Naval Reserve Act of 1938 (52 Stat. 1175, 1176, ch. 690), making members of the Fleet Reserve and officers and enlisted men who have been or may be transferred to the retired list of the Naval Reserve Force or the Naval Reserve or the honorary retired list with pay subject to the laws, regulations, and orders for the government of the Navy;
(r) Section 301, title III, of the Naval Reserve Act of 1938 (52 Stat. 1175, 1180, ch. 690);
(s) Act of March 22, 1943 (57 Stat. 41, ch.18);
(t) Act of April 9, 1943 (57 Stat. 58, ch. 36);
(u) Title 14, United States Code, sections 4 (f) and 758;
(v) All of chapter 15 of title 14, United States Code, including the chapter number, the analysis, and the reference thereto in the table of contents to part I.

Sec. 15.[edit]

Section 227 of title 14, United States Code, is amended by striking out the word ‘‘dismissal’’ and inserting in lieu thereof the word ‘‘discharge’’ in the catchline; and by striking out the word ‘‘dismiss’’ and inserting in lieu thereof the word ‘‘discharge’’ in the text.

Sec. 16.[edit]

(a) Chapter 13 of title 14, United States Code is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new sections:

``§ 508. Deserters; arrest of by civil authorities; penalties.
``(a) Any civil officer having authority to arrest offenders under the laws of the United States or of any State, Territory, or District, may arrest summarily a deserter from the Coast Guard and deliver him into the custody of Coast Guard authorities. The Commandant may, pursuant to applicable regulations, provide for reimbursement for the transportation and other necessary expenses to effectuate such delivery.
``(b) No person who is convicted by court-martial for desertion from the Coast Guard in time of war, and as the result of such conviction is dismissed or dishonorably discharged from the Coast Guard shall afterwards be enlisted, appointed, or commissioned in any military or naval service under the United States, unless the disability resulting from desertion, as established by this section, is removed by a board of commissioned officers of the Coast Guard convened for consideration of the case, and the action of the board is approved by the Secretary; or unless he is restored to duty in time of war.
``§ 509. Prisoners; allowances to; transportation.
``(a) Persons confined in prisons in pursuance of the sentence of a Coast Guard court shall, during such confinement, be allowed a reasonable sum, not to exceed $3 per month, for necessary prison expenses, and shall upon discharge be furnished with suitable civilian clothing and paid a gratuity, not to exceed $25. Such allowance shall be made in amounts to be fixed by, and in the discretion of, the Secretary and only in cases where the prisoners so discharged would otherwise be unprovided with suitable clothing or without funds to meet their immediate needs.
``(b) The Commandant may transport to their homes or places of enlistment, as he may designate, all discharged prisoners; the expense of such transportation shall be paid out of any money to the credit of prisoners when discharged.´´

(b) The analysis of chapter 13 of said title 14, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new items:

``508. Deserters; arrest of by civil authorities; penalties.
``509. Prisoners; allowances to; transportation.´´

Sec. 17. Authorization of Appropriations.[edit]

There is hereby authorized to be appropriated, out of any moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, such sums as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.

Approved May 5, 1950.

Legislative History[edit]

  • H.R. 4080,
  • CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 96 (1950):

See Related:
• Executive Order 10214 Prescribing the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States, 1951 February 8, 1951