Protect Our Defenders Investigates
April 18, 2016
In July 2013, at the height of a contentious Senate debate over legislation to create an impartial military justice system, the Pentagon provided misleading and unsupported claims to Congress to block reform. In testimony and a letter to Congress, Admiral James Winnefeld, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, claimed that there were a number of cases where civilian prosecutors “refused” to prosecute and military commanders subsequently “insisted” those cases be sent to court-martial.
Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Protect Our Defenders obtained and analyzed the underlying case documents. Our analysis reveals that the Pentagon exaggerated and distorted the facts in order to undermine fundamental reform of the military justice system. These findings are detailed in our report, Debunked: Fact-Checking the Pentagon’s Claims Regarding Military Justice.