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Record of the Fact-Finding Body
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is mandatory. The record of proceedings must reflect compliance  with  the  Privacy  Act.  JAGMAN,  appendix A-2-a, should be used. Because   of   wide   circulation   of   reports   of investigation,  classified  information  should  be  omitted unless inclusion is essential. When classified matter is included in the investigative report, the report should be assigned classification of the highest subject matter contained therein. Encrypted versions of messages should not  be  included  or  attached  to  investigative  reports  where the content or substance of such message is divulged. Investigative   reports   for   an   administrative fact-finding body not required to conduct a hearing should be submitted in letter form. Normally, the report will  consist  of  a  preliminary  statement,  findings  of  fact, opinions, recommendations, and enclosures. (See the example  in  JAGINST  5800.7C,  appendix  A-2-e.) REPORT OF OFFENSE Any person may report an offense subject to trial by court-martial.  Ordinarily,  any  military  authority  who receives  a  report  of  an  offense  should  forward  as  soon as   possible   the   report   and   any   accompanying information to the immediate commander of the suspect. Competent authority superior to that commander may direct otherwise. Upon receipt of a report, the immediate commander  of  a  suspect  should  refer  to  Rules  for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 306 for initial disposition. INITIAL DISPOSITION Each commander has the discretion to dispose of offenses by members of that command. Ordinarily the immediate commander of a person accused or suspected of  committing  an  offense  triable  by  court-martial initially determines how to dispose of that offense. A superior commander may withhold the authority to dispose  of  offenses  in  individual  cases,  types  of  cases, or generally. A superior commander may not limit the discretion of a subordinate commander to act on cases over  which  authority  has  not  been  withheld. Allegations of offenses should be disposed of in a timely  manner  at  the  lowest  appropriate  level  of disposition  listed  in  R.C.M.  306.  The  disposition decision  is  one  of  the  most  important  and  difficult decisions facing a commander. Many factors must be taken into consideration and balanced, including, to the extent  practical,  the  nature  of  the  offenses,  any mitigating or extenuating circumstances, the character and   military   service   of   the   accused,   any recommendations  made  by  subordinate  commanders, the interests of justice, military exigencies, and the effect of the decision on the accused and the command The goal should be a disposition that is warranted, appropriate, and fair. Within the limits of the commander’s authority, a commander may take the following actions to initially dispose of a charge or suspected offense: No action. A commander may decide to take no action on an offense. If charges have been preferred, they may be dismissed. Administrative  action.  A  commander  may  take  or initiate administrative action, in addition to or instead of other  action  taken  under  R.C.M.  306,  subject  to regulations of the Secretary concerned. Administrative actions include corrective measures, such as counseling, admonition,   reprimand,   exhortation,   disapproval, criticism,  censure,  reproach,  rebuke,  extra  military instruction,   or   the   administrative   withholding   of privileges, or any combination of the above. Nonjudicial  punishment.  A  commander  may consider the matter pursuant to Article 15, nonjudicial punishment. Disposition of charges. Charges maybe disposed of according  to  R.C.M.  401. Forwarding  for  disposition.  A  commander  may forward a matter concerning an offense, or charges, to a  superior  or  subordinate  authority  for  disposition. National  security  matters.  If  a  commander  not authorized  to  convene  general  courts-martial  finds  that an  offense  warrants  trial  by  court-martial,  but  believes that trial would be detrimental to the prosecution of a war or harmful to national security, the matter should be forwarded  to  the  general  court-martial  convening authority for action under R.C.M. 407(b). PREFERRAL OF CHARGES Any person subject to the code may prefer charges. No person may be ordered to prefer charges if that person is unable to make truthfully the required oath. A person who has been the accuser or nominal accuser may not also serve as the convening authority of a general or special court-martial to which the charges are later  referred.  However,  a  summary  court-martial convening authority is not disqualified by being the accuser. Charges may be preferred against a person subject to trial court-martial at anytime but should be preferred  without  unnecessary  delay. 11-4

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