Chicago Journal of International Law


For 228 years, uniformed lawyers have been providing legal advice to commanders. They have used their legal skill, their sense of social organization, and their understanding of military history and tradition to assist in the formulation of sound discipline, governance, and policy. The unique contribution martial law has made to our country's dedication to the rule of law is a heritage worth celebrating. The purpose of this essay is to discuss this heritage so that one may appreciate the current state of the practice of military law. It includes an exploration of the theoretical conflict between law and armed force; an explanation of how the Defense Department is organized to render legal advice; a history of American military law's contributions to domestic and international law; and a reflection on how this heritage should be taught in the classroom.