Defense Secretary Jim “Chaos” Mattis has had quite enough of poor military discipline- and he’s put out a memo stating implying that many commanders have gone soft.
There has been a steady decline in courts-martial and other severe punishments being doled to ill-behaving troops in recent memory, with courts-martial cases across all branches falling by 70% in the past decade.
Instead of more severe punishments, commanders appear to lean towards administrative discipline, which usually ends with a servicemember being kicked out of the service.
Mattis recently addressed the issue, penning a bluntly scathing memo against the prevailing practice.
“Leaders must be willing to choose the harder right over the easier wrong,” Mattis wrote in the memo. “Administrative actions should not be the default method to address illicit conduct simply because it is less burdensome than the military justice system.”
According to the Military Times, Mattis warned against commanders being “so risk-adverse that they lose their focus on forging disciplined troops ready to ferociously and ethically defeat our enemies in the battlefield.”
Pentagon spokesman Johnny Michael didn’t have much to say on the matter.
“It speaks for itself,” Michael said of the memo. “It is general guidance to the Department on the need for discipline within the ranks and is not intended in any way to suggest the outcome of any case or for all cases.”
While the US Marines make up the smallest branch of the military they account for the second-largest number of court-martial prosecutions at 35 percent, trailing the US Army by only 4 percent. The US Air Force only accounts for 16 percent, leaving the US Navy with the remaining ten percent of court-martial prosecutions.
If Mattis’ memo is any indication of things to come, the legal branches of the military might be getting a lot more work to do as time goes on.
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