HOW MILITARY JUSTICE WORKS
The process always starts with a servicemember’s military commander receiving information that the member may have committed some misconduct. This could be a result of a civilian or military arrest, a suspicious travel claim, a positive pop on a urinalysis, or any number of things.
If a commander doesn’t feel he has all the facts, he will probably request an investigation from CID, NCIS, OSI, or local military law enforcement. An investigation normally includes interviews with all the witnesses and at least an attempt to interview the accused. A smart military member will be polite and respectful, but will not make any statement until speaking privately with a lawyer.
When the commander believes personally that an offense has been committed, and that the accused member committed it, he has a number of options at his disposal.
He might take no official disciplinary action at all, perhaps believing that it is an issue to be corrected with appropriate leadership and mentoring. He might want to handle things with a verbal or written counseling or “butt-chewing.” Or he might choose a more formal path, with a nonjudicial punishment (known as Article 15, NJP, captain’s mast, or office hours), administrative discharge proceedings, or one of three possible types of court-martial.