By Staff Sgt. Melissa ParrishSeptember 22, 2018
Fort Shafter Flats, HAWAII - Changes to the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) are right around the corner. The U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps put together a team of experts and spent the year training the career field.
The Army's Military Justice Legislation Training Team (MJLTT) is traveling to Army bases around the U.S. to ensure the U.S. Army judge advocates and paralegals are prepared for the change.
The MJLTT arrived on the island of Oahu on September 5, to train more than 200 Soldiers, Sailors and Coast guardsmen.
The Military Justice Act of 2016 was signed into law by former President Barack Obama in December 2016. The act included the most significant reforms to the Uniform Code of Military Justice since it was enacted in 1950.
Sgt. Amanda Donaldson, a paralegal with U.S. Army Pacific, appreciated that the training wasn't online, but was face-to-face, where she could ask questions and receive clarity in real time.
"I liked that it wasn't just someone telling us what the changes were but that we were able to have discussions and really break down what the changes mean for our career field," said Donaldson. "There are a lot of changes coming and I know that this training isn't the end of learning. I will have to continue to study."
Lt. Col. Sara Root, chief of the Army's Military Justice Legislation Training Team, assigned to office of The Judge Advocate General-criminal law division, is the lead trainer on the team.
"Our JAG leadership decided that the best way to ensure all of our practitioners are ready for the upcoming changes is to have an in person training where everyone benefits from the dialogue and questions asked," said Root.
"The comment I get the most from the after action reviews of the training is 'Thank you for doing this in person'," said Root.
Legal personnel from the Navy and Coastguard also attended the two day Army training.
"We invite the other services, because this isn't just an Army change, this is a change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and it is a change for us all," said Root.
The MJLTT will continue to travel to Army bases across the country to train the legal career field. The changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2018.
Among the changes, the Act adds new punitive articles that deal with: retaliation, prohibited activities with a military recruit or trainee, offenses regarding government computers, and fraudulent uses of credit cards, debit cards or other access devices.
For more information on the changes: