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FOIA Document | July 23, 2014

Report of Investigation: General James F. Amos United States Marine Corps

Case No. 20131206-017598

On October 22, 2010, Gen Amos assumed the duties of the Commandant, USMC (CMC). The CMC is responsible for maintaining a high degree of competence among USMC officers and enlisted personnel, the morale and motivation of USMC personnel, and the prestige of a career in the USMC. 

On January 11, 2012, a video appeared on YouTube showing Marines urinating on the bodies of several enemy combatants killed during combat operations in Afghanistan.  The video garnered worldwide attention, including significant media and political interest.  LtGen Thomas Waldhauser, USMC, Commanding General, Marine Corps Forces Central Command, assumed jurisdiction over potential disciplinary matters, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service
(NCIS) initiated a criminal investigation into alleged violations of the Law of Armed Conflict. 

On January 13, 2012, Gen Amos formally appointed LtGen Waldhauser to serve as the CDA for the urination incident, and LtGen Waldhauser appointed LtGen Steven A. Hummer, USMC, Commander, U.S. Marine Forces Reserve, to investigate the urination incident.  The appointment of a CDA is a mechanism to place all necessary administrative and disciplinary action authority under a single military officer.  The CDA serves as a court-martial convening authority.  We refer to LtGen Hummer’s investigation as the “Hummer investigation” in this report. 

The Rules for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.), Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2012), govern procedures and rules for all courts-martial.  A court-martial is convened by the order of a court-martial convening authority.  A “convening authority” includes a commissioned officer in command for the time being and successors in command.  R.C.M. 104, “Unlawful command influence,” along with Article 37, UCMJ, prohibits all persons subject to the UCMJ from attempting to influence the action of any convening authority with respect to such authority’s judicial acts.  R.C.M. 105(a), “Convening authorities and staff judge advocates,” requires convening authorities to communicate at all times “directly with their staff judge advocates in matters relating to the administration of military justice.”  R.C.M. 306, “Initial disposition,” states that a commander has discretion to dispose of offenses by members of the command, and prohibits superior commanders from limiting the discretion of subordinate commanders to act on cases over which authority has not been withheld.  R.C.M. 306(b), “Policy,” provides that allegations of offenses should be disposed of at the lowest appropriate level.  The rule contemplates a goal for disposition of offenses that is “warranted, appropriate, and fair.”


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