NJP/Art.15/Captain’s Mast

Article 15, UCMJ Nonjudicial Punishment[1]

Nonjudicial punishment (NJP) refers to certain limited punishments that can be awarded for minor disciplinary offenses by a commanding officer or officer in charge to members of his/her command. In the Navy and Coast Guard, nonjudicial punishment proceedings are referred to as "Captain's mast." In the Marine Corps, the process is called "office hours," and in the Army and Air Force, it is referred to as "Article 15." Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) provide the basic law concerning nonjudicial punishment procedures.

In the Army and Air Force, nonjudicial punishment can only be imposed by a commanding officer. That means an officer who is on actual orders, designating them as a "commander." In the Navy and Marine Corps, nonjudicial punishment may also be imposed by an "Officer in Charge." The Term "Officer in Charge" does not mean an "OIC," as a job title, but rather a specific officer where the flag officer holding general court-martial authority designates the office as the "officer in charge."

"Mast," "Article 15," and "office hours" are procedures whereby the commanding officer or officer in charge may: (1) Make inquiry into the facts surrounding minor offenses allegedly committed by a member of his command; (2) afford the accused a hearing as to such offenses; and (3) dispose of such charges by dismissing the charges, imposing punishment under the provisions of Art. 15, UCMJ, or referring the case to a court-martial. NJP is not a trial, and the imposition of punishment at NJP does not constitute a conviction.

Offenses Punishable Under Article 15, UCMJ

To initiate Article 15 action, a commander must have reason to believe that a member of his command committed an offense under the UCMJ. Article 15, UCMJ gives a commanding officer power to punish individuals for minor offenses. The term "minor offense" has been the cause of some concern in the administration of NJP. Article 15, UCMJ, and Part V, para. 1e, MCM (2008 ed.), indicate that the term "minor offense" means misconduct normally not more serious than that usually handled at summary court-martial (where the maximum punishment is thirty days' confinement). These sources also indicate that the nature of the offense and the circumstances surrounding its commission are also factors that should be considered in determining whether an offense is minor in nature. The term "minor offense" ordinarily does not include misconduct which, if tried by general court-martial, could be punished by a dishonorable discharge or confinement for more than one year. The military services, however, have taken the position that the final determination as to whether an offense is "minor" is within the sound discretion of the commanding officer.

Imposition of NJP does not, in all cases, preclude a subsequent court-martial for the same offense. See Part V, para. 1e, MCM (2008 ed.) at pages 4-34. Additionally, Article 43 of the UCMJ prohibits the imposition of NJP more than two years after the commission of the offense.

Service member's Rights at NJP

Right of the Accused to Demand Trial by Court-Martial. Except in the case of a person attached to or embarked in a vessel, an accused service member may demand trial by court-martial in lieu of NJP. The key time factor in determining whether or not a person has the right to demand trial is the time of the imposition of the NJP, and not the time of the commission of the offense. The service member should be informed of his right to demand trial by court-martial in lieu of NJP; of the maximum punishment which could be imposed at NJP; of the fact that, should he demand trial by court-martial, the charges could be referred for trial by summary, special, or general court-martial; of the fact that he could not be tried at summary court-martial over his objection; and that, at a special or general court-martial, he would have the right to be represented by counsel.

Right to confer with independent counsel. United States v. Booker, 5 M.J. 238 (C.M.A. 1977), held that, because an accused who is not attached to or embarked in a vessel has the right to refuse NJP, he must be told of his right to confer with independent counsel regarding his decision to accept or refuse the NJP, if the record of that NJP is to be admissible in evidence against him should the accused ever be subsequently tried by court-martial. A failure to properly advise an accused of his right to confer with counsel, or a failure to provide counsel, will not, however, render the imposition of NJP invalid or constitute a ground for appeal.

Hearing rights. If the accused does not demand trial by court-martial within a reasonable time after having been advised of his rights (usually 3 workdays unless the commander grants an extension), or if the right to demand court-martial is not applicable, the accused shall be entitled to appear personally before the commanding officer for the NJP hearing. At such hearing, the accused is entitled to:

(1) be informed of his rights under Art. 31, UCMJ (self- incrimination);

(2) be accompanied by a spokesperson provided by or arranged for by the member, and the proceedings need not be unduly delayed to permit the presence of the spokesperson, nor is he entitled to travel or similar expenses;

(3) be informed of the evidence against him relating to the offense;

(4) be allowed to examine all evidence upon which the commanding officer will rely in deciding whether and how much punishment to impose;

(5) present matters in defense, extenuation, and mitigation, orally, in writing, or both;

(6) have witnesses present, including those adverse to the accused, upon request, if their statements will be relevant, and if they are reasonably available. A witness is reasonably available if his or her appearance will not require reimbursement by the government, will not unduly delay the proceedings, or, in the case of a military witness, will not necessitate his or her being excused from other important duties; and

(7) have the proceedings open to the public unless the commanding officer determines that the proceedings should be closed for good cause. No special facility arrangements need to be made by the commander. Even if the accused does not wish the proceedings to be open to the public, the commander may open them anyway at his discretion. In most cases, the commander will open them partially, and have present relevant members of the command (XO, first sergeant, supervisor, etc.)

The Manual for Courts Martial provides that, if the accused waives his right to personally appear before the commanding officer, he may choose to submit written matters for consideration by the commanding officer prior to the imposition of NJP. Should the accused make such an election, he should be informed of his right to remain silent and that any matters so submitted may be used against him in a trial by court-martial. Notwithstanding the accused's expressed desire to waive his right to personally appear at the NJP hearing, he may be ordered to attend the hearing if the officer imposing NJP desires his presence.

Personal representative. The concept of a personal representative to speak on behalf of the accused at an Article 15, UCMJ, hearing has caused some confusion. The burden of obtaining such a representative is on the accused. As a practical matter, he is free to choose anyone he wants -- a lawyer or a non lawyer, an officer or an enlisted person. This freedom of the accused to choose a representative does not obligate the command to provide lawyer counsel, and current regulations do not create a right to counsel to the extent that such a right exists at court-martial. The accused may be represented by any lawyer who is willing and able to appear at the hearing. While a lawyer's workload may preclude the lawyer from appearing, a blanket rule that no lawyers will be available to appear at Article 15 hearings would appear to contravene the spirit if not the letter of the law. It is likewise doubtful that one can lawfully be ordered to represent the accused. It is fair to say that the accused can have anyone who is able and willing to appear on his behalf without cost to the government. While a command does not have to provide a personal representative, it should help the accused obtain the representative he wants. In this connection, if the accused desires a personal representative, he must be allowed a reasonable time to obtain someone.

Non-adversarial proceeding. The presence of a personal representative is not meant to create an adversarial proceeding. Rather, the commanding officer is still under an obligation to pursue the truth. In this connection, he controls the course of the hearing and should not allow the proceedings to deteriorate into a partisan adversarial atmosphere.

Witnesses. When the hearing involves controverted questions of fact pertaining to the alleged offenses, witnesses shall be called to testify if they are present on the same ship or base or are otherwise available at no expense to the government. Thus, in a larceny case, if the accused denies he took the money, the witnesses who can testify that he did take the money must be called to testify in person if they are available at no cost to the government. It should be noted, however, that no authority exists to subpoena civilian witnesses for an NJP proceeding.

Burden of proof. The commanding officer or officer in charge must decide that the accused committed the offenses(s) by a preponderance of the evidence.

Findings. After consideration of all the factors, the commander makes his decision/findings. These include:

(1) dismissal with or without warning. This action normally is taken if the commanding officer is not convinced by the evidence that the accused is guilty of an offense, or decides that no punishment is appropriate in light of his past record and other circumstances. Dismissal, whether with or without a warning, is not considered NJP, nor is it considered an acquittal;

(2) referral to a court-martial, or pretrial investigation under Article 32, UCMJ;

(3) postponement of action (pending further investigation or for other good cause, such as a pending trial by civil authorities for the same offenses); or

(4) imposition of NJP.

Authorized Punishments at NJP

The maximum imposable punishment in any Article 15, UCMJ, proceeding is limited by several factors, including the grade of the officer imposing NJP, whether the officer imposing NJP is a "commanding officer" or "officer in charge," whether the accused in an officer or enlisted person, and whether the accused in attached to or embarked in a vessel. The maximum punishment limitations discussed below apply to each NJP action, and not to each offense. Note also, there is a policy that all known offenses of which the accused is suspected should ordinarily be considered at a single article 15 hearing.

Maximum Punishments and Limitations

Officer accused. If punishment is imposed by officers in the following grades, the limits are as indicated below.

By officer exercising general court-martial jurisdiction or a flag/general officer in command, or designated principal assistant:

(1) Punitive admonition or reprimand.

(2) Arrest in quarters: not more than 30 days.

(3) Restriction to limits: not more than 60 days.

(4) Forfeiture of pay: not more than 1/2 of one month's pay per month for two months.

By officers O-4 to O-6:

(1) Admonition or reprimand.

(2) Restriction: not more than 30 days.

By officers O-1 to O-3:

(1) Admonition or reprimand.

(2) Restriction: not more than 15 days.

By officer in charge: none (Only a "Commanding Officer" can impose article 15 punishment on an officer).

Enlisted Accused

By commanding officers in grades O-4 and above

(1) Admonition or reprimand.

(2) Confinement on bread and water/diminished rations: imposable only on grades E-3 and below, attached to or embarked in a vessel, for not more than 3 days (USN and USMC only).

(3) Correctional custody: not more than 30 days.

(4) Forfeiture: not more than 1/2 of one month's pay per month for two months.

(5) Reduction: one grade, not imposable on E-7 and above (Navy, Army, and Air Force) or on E-6 and above (Marine Corps).

(6) Extra duties: not more than 45 days.

(7) Restriction: not more than 60 days.

By commanding officers in grades O-3 and below or any commissioned officer in charge (Marine Corps and Navy Only)

(1) Admonition or reprimand.

(2) Confinement on bread and water / diminished rations: not more than 3 days and only on grades E-3 and below attached to or embarked in a vessel (USN and USMC only).

(3) Correctional custody: not more than 7 days.

(4) Forfeiture: not more than 7 days' pay.

(5) Reduction: to next inferior pay grade; not imposable on E-7 and above (Navy, Army, and Air Force) or E-6 and above (Marine Corps), if rank from which demoted is within the promotion authority of the OIC.

(6) Extra duties: not more than 14 days.

(7) Restriction: not more than 14 days.

Nature of the Article 15, UCMJ Punishments

Admonition and reprimand. Punitive censure for officers must be in writing, although it may be either oral or written for enlisted personnel. It should be noted that reprimand is considered more severe than admonition.

Arrest in quarters. The punishment is imposable only on officers. It is a moral restraint, as opposed to a physical restraint. It is similar to restriction, but has much narrower limits. The limits of arrest are set by the officer imposing the punishment and may extend beyond quarters. The term "quarters" includes military and private residences. The officer may be required to perform his regular duties as long as they do not involve the exercise of authority over subordinates.

Restriction. Restriction also is a form of moral restraint. Its severity depends upon the breadth of the limits as well as the duration of the restriction. If restriction limits are drawn too tightly, there is a real danger that they may amount to either confinement or arrest in quarters, which in the former case cannot be imposed as NJP and in the latter case is not an authorized punishment for enlisted persons. As a practical matter, restriction means that an accused will be restricted to the limits of the base except where the use of recreational facilities might be further restricted. Restriction and arrest are normally imposed by a written order detailing the limits thereof and usually require the accused to log in at certain specified times during the restraint. Navy regulations, provide that an officer placed in the status of arrest or restriction shall not be confined to his room unless the safety or the discipline of the ship requires such action.

Forfeiture. A forfeiture applies to basic pay and to sea or foreign duty pay, but not to incentive pay, allowances for subsistence or quarters, etc. "Forfeiture" means that the accused forfeits monies due him in compensation for his military service only; it does not include any private funds. This distinguishes forfeiture from a "fine," which may only be awarded by courts-martial. The amount of forfeiture of pay should be stated in whole dollar amounts, not in fractions, and indicate the number of months affected (e.g., "to forfeit $50.00 pay per month for two months"). Where a reduction is also involved in the punishment, the forfeiture must be premised on the new lower rank, even if the reduction is suspended.

Extra duties. Various types of duties may be assigned, in addition to routine duties, as punishment. Part V, para. 5c(6), MCM (2008 ed.), however, prohibits extra duties which constitute a known safety or health hazard, which constitute cruel and unusual punishment, or which are not sanctioned by the customs of the service involved. Additionally, when imposed upon a petty or noncommissioned officer (E-4 and above), the duties cannot be demeaning to his rank or position.

Reduction in grade. In the Navy and Marine Corps, regulations limit reduction in grade to one grade only. In the Army and Air Force, personnel in grades of E-5 and above can only be reduced by one grade, but personnel in grades of E-4 and below may be reduced to the lowest enlisted grade.

Correctional custody. Correctional custody is a form of physical restraint during either duty or non-duty hours, or both, and may include hard labor or extra duty. Awardees may perform military duty, but not watches, and cannot bear arms or exercise authority over subordinates. Time spent in correctional custody is not "lost time." In the Navy and Marine Corps, correctional custody cannot be imposed on grades E-4 and above.

Confinement on bread and water or diminished rations. This punishment can be utilized only if the accused is attached to or embarked in a vessel. The punishment involves physical confinement and is tantamount to solitary confinement because contact is allowed only with authorized personnel. A medical officer must first certify in writing that the accused will suffer no serious injury and that the place of confinement will not be injurious to the accused. This punishment cannot be imposed upon grades E-4 and above. Confinement on bread and water or diminished rations is not authorized in the Coast Guard.

If punishment is imposed at NJP, the commanding officer is required to ensure that the accused is advised of his right to appeal. A person punished under article 15 may appeal the imposition of such punishment through proper channels to the appropriate appeal authority.

Nonjudicial Punishment Appeals

Appeals must be submitted in writing within five calendar days of the imposition of NJP, or the right to appeal shall be waived in the absence of good cause shown. The appeal period begins to run from the date of the imposition of NJP, even though all or any part of the punishment imposed is suspended.

If it appears to the accused that good cause may exist which would make it impracticable or extremely difficult to prepare and submit the appeal within the 5 calendar day period, the accused should immediately advise the officer who imposed the punishment of the perceived problems and request an appropriate extension of time. The officer imposing NJP shall determine whether good cause was shown and shall advise the accused whether an extension of time will be permitted.

Request for stay of restraint punishments or extra duties. A service member who has appealed may be required to undergo any restraint punishment or extra duties imposed while the appeal is pending, except that, if action is not taken on the appeal by the appeal authority within five days (not working days) after the written appeal has been submitted, and if the accused has so requested, any unexecuted punishment involving restraint or extra duties shall be stayed until action on the appeal is taken.

There are only two grounds for appeal: the punishment was unjust or the punishment was disproportionate to the offense committed. Unjust punishment exists when the evidence is insufficient to prove the accused committed the offense; when the statute of limitations prohibits lawful punishment; or when any other fact, including a denial of substantial rights, calls into question the validity of the punishment. Punishment is disproportionate if it is, in the judgment of the reviewer, too severe for the offense committed. An offender who believes his punishment is too severe thus appeals on the ground of disproportionate punishment, whether or not his letter artfully states the ground in precise terminology. Note, however, that a punishment may be legal but excessive or unfair considering circumstances such as: the nature of the offense; the absence of aggravating circumstances; the prior record of the offender; and any other circumstances in extenuation and mitigation. The grounds for appeal need not be stated artfully in the accused's appeal letter, and the reviewer may have to deduce the appropriate ground implied in the letter. Inartful draftsmanship or improper addressees or other administrative irregularities are not grounds for refusing to forward the appeal to the reviewing authority. If any commander in the chain of addressees notes administrative mistakes, they should be corrected, if material, in that commander's endorsement which forwards the appeal. Thus, if an accused does not address his letter to all appropriate commanders in the chain of command, the commander who notes the mistake should merely readdress and forward the appeal. He should not send the appeal back to the accused for redrafting since the appeal should be forwarded promptly to the reviewing authority.

The officer who imposed the punishment should not, by endorsement, seek to "defend" against the allegations of the appeal but should, where appropriate, explain the rationalization of the evidence. For example, the officer may have chosen to believe one witness' account of the facts while disbelieving another witness' recollection of the same facts and this should be included in the endorsement. This officer may properly include any facts relevant to the case as an aid to the reviewing authority, but should avoid irrelevant character assassination of the accused. Finally, any errors made in the decision to impose NJP or in the amount of punishment imposed should be corrected by this officer and the corrective action noted in the forwarding endorsement. Even though corrective action is taken, the appeal must still be forwarded to the reviewer.

As a preliminary matter, it should be noted that NJP is not a criminal trial, but rather an administrative proceeding, primarily corrective in nature, designed to deal with minor disciplinary infractions without the stigma of a court-martial conviction. As a result, the standard of proof applicable at Article 15 hearings is a "preponderance of the evidence" vice "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Procedural errors. Errors of procedure do not invalidate punishment unless the error or errors deny a substantial right or do substantial injury to such right. Thus, if an offender was not properly warned of his right to remain silent at the hearing, but made no statement, he has not suffered a substantial injury. If an offender was not informed that he had a right to refuse NJP, and he had such a right, then the error amounts to a denial of a substantial right.

Evidentiary errors. Strict rules of evidence do not apply at NJP hearings. Evidentiary errors not amounting to insufficient evidence will not normally invalidate punishment.

Lawyer review. Part V, para. 7e, MCM (2008 ed.), requires that, before taking any action on an appeal from any punishment in excess of that which could be given by an O-3 commanding officer, the reviewing authority must refer the appeal to a lawyer for consideration and advice. The advice of the lawyer is a matter between the reviewing authority and the lawyer and does not become a part of the appeal package. Most of the services now require that all NJP appeals be reviewed by a lawyer prior to action by the reviewing authority.

Authorized appellate action. In acting on an appeal, or even in cases in which no appeal has been filed, the superior authority may exercise the same power with respect to the punishment imposed as the officer who imposed the punishment. Thus, the reviewing authority may:

(1) approve the punishment in whole;

(2) mitigate, remit, or set aside the punishment to correct errors;

(3) mitigate, remit, or suspend (in whole or in part) the punishment for reasons of clemency;

(4) dismiss the case (If this is done, the reviewer must direct the restoration of all rights, privileges, and property lost by the accused by virtue of the imposition of punishment.); or

(5) authorize a rehearing where there are substantial procedural errors not amounting to a finding of insufficient evidence to impose NJP. At the rehearing, however, the punishment imposed may be no more severe than that imposed during the original proceedings, unless other offenses which occurred subsequent to the date of the original proceeding are added to the original offenses. If the accused, while not attached to or embarked in a vessel, waived his right to demand trial by court-martial at the original proceedings, he may not assert this right as to those same offenses at the rehearing but may assert the right as to any new offenses at the rehearing.

Upon completion of action by the reviewing authority, the service member shall be promptly notified of the result.

Clemency and corrective actions

Clemency action is a reduction in the severity of punishment done at the discretion of the officer authorized to take such action for whatever reason deemed sufficient. Remedial corrective action is a reduction in the severity of punishment or other action taken by proper authority to correct some defect in the NJP proceeding and to offset the adverse impact of the error on the accused's rights.

The following officials have authority to take clemency action or remedial corrective action:

(1) the officer who initially imposed the NJP;

(2) the authority who initially imposed the NJP (the office rather than the officer);

(3) the successor in command over the person punished;

(4) the superior authority to whom an appeal from the punishment would be forwarded, whether or not such an appeal has been made;

(5) the commanding officer or officer in charge of a unit, activity, or command to which the accused is properly transferred after the imposition of punishment by the first commander; and

(6) the successor in command of the latter.

The types of action that can be taken either as clemency or corrective action are setting aside, remission, mitigation, and suspension.

Setting aside punishment. This power has the effect of voiding the punishment (or any part or amount thereof) and restoring the rights, privileges, and property lost to the accused by virtue of the punishment imposed. This action should be reserved for compelling circumstances where the commander feels a clear injustice has occurred. This means, normally, that the commander believes the punishment of the accused was clearly a mistake.

Remission. This action relates to the unexecuted parts of the punishment; that is, those parts which have not been completed. This action relieves the accused from having to complete his punishment, though he may have partially completed it. Rights, privileges, and property lost by virtue of executed portions of punishment are not restored, nor is the punishment voided as in the case when it is set aside. The expiration of the current enlistment or term of service of the service member automatically remits any unexecuted punishment imposed under Article 15.

Mitigation. Generally, this action also relates to the unexecuted portions of punishment. Mitigation of punishment is a reduction in the quantity or quality of the punishment imposed; in no event may punishment imposed be increased so as to be more severe.

Without increasing quantity, the following reductions by mitigation may be taken:

(1) arrest in quarters to restriction;

(2) confinement on bread and water or diminished rations to correctional custody;

(3) correctional custody or confinement on bread and water or diminished rations to extra duties or restriction or both (to run concurrently); or

(4) extra duties to restriction.

The length of the deprivation of liberty or the amount of forfeiture or other money punishment can also be reduced and, hence, mitigated without any change in the quality (type) of punishment.

Reduction in grade. Reduction in grade, even though executed, may be mitigated to forfeiture of pay. The amount of forfeiture can be no greater than that which could have been imposed by the mitigating commander had he initially imposed punishment. This mitigation may be done only within four months after the date of execution.

Suspension of punishment. This is an action to withhold the execution of the imposed punishment for a stated period of time. This action can be taken with respect to unexecuted portions of the punishment, or, in the case of reduction in rank or a forfeiture, such action may be taken even though the punishment has been executed.

An executed reduction or forfeiture can be suspended only within four months of its imposition.

At the end of the probationary period, the suspended portions of the punishment are remitted automatically unless sooner vacated.

An action suspending a punishment includes an implied condition that the service member not commit an offense under the UCMJ. The NJP authority who imposed punishment may specify in writing additional conditions on the suspension.

Customized conditions of suspension must be lawful and capable of accomplishment. Examples include: duty to obey local civilian law(s), refraining from associating with particular individuals (i.e., known drug users), not entering particular establishments or trouble spots, requirement to agree to searches of person, vehicles, or lockers, to successfully graduate from a particular rehabilitation course, to make specified restitution to a victim, to conduct specified GMT on a topic related to the offense, or any variety of conditions designed to rehabilitate or curtail risk-oriented conduct.

Vacation of the suspended punishment may be effected by any commanding officer or officer in charge over the person punished who has the authority to impose the kind and amount of punishment to be vacated. Vacation of the suspended punishment may be based only upon a violation of the UCMJ (implied condition) or a violation of the conditions of suspension (express condition) which occurs during the period of suspension.

Vacation of a suspension is not punishment for the misconduct that triggers the vacation. Accordingly, misconduct may be punished and also serve as the reason for vacating a previously suspended punishment imposed at NJP.

Vacation proceedings are often handled at NJP. First, the suspended punishment is vacated, then the commanding officer can impose NJP for the new offense, but not for a violation of a condition of suspension unless it is itself a violation of the UCMJ. If NJP is imposed for the new offense, the accused must be afforded all of his hearing rights, etc. The probationary period cannot exceed six months from the date of suspension and terminates automatically upon expiration of current enlistment.

Special Rules for Reservists

Reservists on active duty for training, or under some circumstances inactive duty training, are subject to the UCMJ and therefore to the imposition of NJP. A member of a Reserve component who is subject to the UCMJ at the time he commits an offense in violation of the UCMJ is not relieved from amenability to NJP or court-martial proceedings solely because of the termination of his period of active duty for training or inactive duty training before the allegation is resolved at NJP or court-martial. Hence, the commanding officer seeking to impose NJP over Reserve personnel has the following options:

(1) impose NJP during the active duty or inactive duty training when the misconduct occurred;

(2) impose NJP at a subsequent period of active duty or inactive duty training (so long as this is within 2 years of the date of the offense);

(3) request from the Regular officer exercising general court-martial jurisdiction over the accused an involuntary recall of the accused to active duty or inactive duty training for purposes of imposing NJP; or

(4) if the accused waives his right to be present at the NJP hearing, the commanding officer or officer in charge may impose NJP after the period of active duty or inactive duty training of the accused has ended.

(5) Confinement is not an authorized punishment without the approval of the Secretary of the service concerned for those Reserve members who have been involuntarily recalled for purposes of imposition of discipline.

(6) For those Reserve personnel who receive restriction or extra duty as a result of NJP imposed during a normal period of active duty training or inactive duty training, the restraint may not extend beyond the normal termination of the training period. This provision does not preclude a "carry-over" of awarded but unserved restraint at a later period of active duty training or inactive duty training.

(7) For those Reserve personnel who receive a restraint form of punishment from an NJP or court-martial for which they have been involuntarily recalled to active duty, such punishment cannot be served at any time other than a subsequent active duty training session unless the Secretary of the service concerned so approves.

[1] Information derived and excerpted in part from Handbook of Military Justice and Civil Law; Nonjudicial Punishment (Article 15) by Rod Powers, About.com Guide.