The military justice system is broken—not because sexual assaults go unpunished or because prosecutorial discretion is in the hands of commanders. It is broken because Congress has forgotten why uniformed judge advocates oversee courts-martial, with judge advocates serving as prosecutors and defense counsel, and why military commanders decide which cases are referred to a court-martial and which are not. But Congress also can fix the system by restricting the jurisdiction of military courts to offenses with a connection to military service.
The 2016 “Manual for Courts-Martial” lists three purposes for military law: to promote justice, to assist in maintaining good order and discipline, and to promote efficiency and effectiveness in the military establishment. The primary purpose of the military justice system, however, has not always been to promote justice.