The report, which uses data from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to each of the branches of military, found that Black military members were far more likely to face military discipline. What’s more, in some cases, the racial disparity in military justice has not improved but has gotten worse.
Black members of the Air Force were 71 percent more likely to face court-martial or Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP). Black Marines were 32 percent more likely to receive a guilty finding at a court-martial or NJP proceeding, with that likelihood increasing with the severity of the discipline. Black Navy sailors were 40 percent more likely than white sailors to be referred to special or general court-martial. And black soldiers in the Army were 61 percent more likely to face a special or general court-martial.
“Protect Our Defenders calls on Congress to investigate these new findings, and provide recommendations for fixing this problem that affects every branch of the Armed Forces. Military leadership has been aware of significant racial disparity in its justice process for years, and has made no apparent effort to find the cause of the disparity or remedy it,” said Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United State Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders.
“Top brass has also vigorously opposed any suggestion that the commander-controlled justice system is hindered by conflicts of interest or bias and has gone to great lengths to tout the fairness of the system. However, the military’s own data raises serious challenges to the idea that the system in its current form is capable of delivering impartial justice.”