Matthew Dahl


This paper will argue that, in the absence of effective alternatives, the new law granting court-martial jurisdiction over civilians is a necessary step in effectively controlling crimes by private contractors and other civilians accompanying U.S. armed forces overseas if other measures are not effectuated. Part II will look at two important Supreme Court decisions that currently restrict the military’s ability to court-martial civilians, and it will also highlight the government’s attempts over the past 50 years to come up with a solution to the problem. Part III will examine three alternatives to the amendment to Article 2(a)(10) that could make the amendment unnecessary if they are effectively implemented. Part IV examines the new Article 2(a)(10), highlights the constitutional concerns it raises, and will show that these concerns can be overcome. Part V briefly discusses Supreme Court precedent that could allow court-martialing of civilians to be a constitutional alternative to the civilian criminal process. The paper will conclude that, if other effective measures are not implemented, the amendment to Article 2(a)(10) is necessary to control contractor crime, and that the Supreme Court should uphold the new law if a future challenge arises.