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JUNEAU—Governor Bill Walker Monday congratulated Representative Gabrielle LeDoux and the House Judiciary Committee on the passage of House Bill 126, “an Act relating to the administration of military justice.” This bill created a new Alaska Code of Military Justice (ACMJ). The new ACMJ is based primarily on the federal Uniform Code of Military Justice, the State Model Code created by the National Guard Bureau (NGB), and best practices from several other state codes. It assures compliance with the specific requirements of the Alaska Constitution.
“This legislation is the single most critical step remaining in our ongoing effort to foster good order and discipline in the Alaska National Guard,” Governor Walker said. “Through a lot of hard, bipartisan work, our Air and Army Guard now have the ability to take timely, effective and visible corrective action to properly shape the behavior of the force. HB 126 is a big step in the right direction to strengthen our National Guard. I thank members of the Alaska National Guard for their hard work drafting this code and bill.”
The National Guard Bureau’s Office of Complex Investigations (OCI) brought shortfalls of the Alaska Guard’s disciplinary system to light in 2014. The report singled out an antiquated and inoperable Alaska Code of Military Justice as particularly problematic.
“Good order and discipline are the foundation of an effective military,” Alaska National Guard Adjutant General Laurie Hummel said. “The ACMJ will help us prevent a resurgence of the culture that grew the conditions noted in the OCI report.”
Upon assuming command in February 2015, General Hummel set the following four goals for the Alaska National Guard:
1) to foster professionalism and ethical fitness;
2) to create preventative measures and offer comprehensive training to mitigate improper behavior, especially as regards sexual harassment or violence;
3) to help victims of improper behavior; and
4) to bring offenders to justice.
“We are on target with the first three goals,” Hummel said, “and now, with the adoption of the ACMJ, we have been provided an important tool to address the fourth one, too.”
The ACMJ applies to all members of Alaska’s organized militias but not to civilians or active-duty service members. The new law spells out specific offenses, punishments and how discipline will be imposed.
“Last year, one of the first objectives General Hummel and I set for the Guard was to regain the trust and confidence of the Alaskan people,” Walker said. “HB 126 represents welcome progress toward building and maintaining that confidence, by better ensuring we have an Alaska National Guard worthy of its membership.”
Source: State of Alaska