Enacted by Congress in 1950, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is the foundation of military justice law in the United States. It underwent a major revision in 1968 and is codified at 10 U.S.C. Ch. 47. You can access the UCMJ from a variety of different legal resources:
Legislative history is one source for researching legislative intent behind a statute. The Congressional Record, House and Senate Reports, and hearings are all forms of legislative history records that enable a legal researcher to track the discussion and debate surrounding a new law and obtain a clearer understanding of legislators' intent in passing the law.
Military justice legal researchers have multiple database options for locating a compiled legislative history of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (1950). The following resources all provide compiled legislative histories:
The Manual for Courts-Martial ("MCM") is promulgated by executive order of the President and serves as the official guide to conducting courts-martial. The MCM is composed of five Parts and twenty-eight appendices:
Organization of the MCM
|Part II||Rules for Courts-Martial|
|Part III||Military Rules of Evidence|
|Part IV||Punitive Articles|
|Part V||Nonjudicial Punishment Procedure|
New editions of the MCM are published periodically, and any amendments (historically referred to as "changes") are published separately and identified by the date of the edition of the MCM to which they apply. You can see a clear example of this updating practice from the Library of Congress's Military Legal Resources Collection at this link. With the publication of a new edition, all prior amendments are fully incorporated into newest edition. The most recent edition was released in 2019.
The MCM is available from a variety of sources, including several sources that also provide access to superseded editions:
The Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security also publish supplementary material to accompany the MCM. These materials can be found throughout the MCM itself and include the "Discussion" sections accompanying the Preamble, RCM, and Punitive Articles, and the appendices. They provide additional interpretation and explanation for the application of the MCM. While the supplemental materials are not themselves legally binding, they are treated as persuasive authority in interpreting and applying the MCM. See United States v. Lazauskas, 62 J.J. 39 (C.A.A.F. 2005).
A compilation of the Supplemental Material for the 2019 edition of the MCM can be viewed at this link (opens as a PDF). (Free online resource.)
The Military Judges' Benchbook, also known as Army Pamphlet 27-9, is designed to provide military judges of courts-martial with overviews of trial procedure and assistance in the drafting of instructions to the court. This source is typically used in conjunction with the UCMJ and the MCM, and it is available from the following sources:
Military regulations and related publications are published in a variety of resources. Many, but not all, military regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations, while other military regulations are available through publications from each military branch. The following is a list of the general sources for military regulations.
Many, but not all, military regulations are codified in Title 32 (National Defense) in the Code of Federal Regulations. Title 32 is broken down in Parts based on the different military branches:
Military regulations and supporting materials can also be published in a variety of different formats, including as instructions, handbooks, manuals, directives, pamphlets, etc. Each military branch publishes its own set of regulatory publications, and researchers should check these sources for additional regulatory guidance not codified in the CFR.
The majority of these sources are available for free on military branch websites, but Westlaw Edge also provides access to a collection of military law regulatory publications: