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Command Investigations

In the military, Commanding Officers/Generals are charged by direction of the President of the United States with the responsibility to maintain good order and discipline within their ranks. Thus, depending on the seriousness and complexity of a criminal allegation, the relevant Commanding Officer/General may ask law enforcement agencies to take jurisdiction over the investigation and/or order a preliminary inquiry into the matter.

Also called a “command investigation,” a preliminary inquiry is usually conducted by an officer-member of the command tasked to discover the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegation, compose a written report, and, finally, brief the Commanding Officer/General on the inquiry’s findings. From this initial examination, the Commanding Officer/General can decide whether the allegation has any merit, and, if so, seek investigative assistance from law enforcement, as well as request legal assistance from the base Staff Judge Advocate Office.

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