Alaska National Guard calls for new military code

ANCHORAGE — The Alaska National Guard is asking lawmakers to pass a new version of the state’s code of military justice to help fix a lack of accountability in the guard.

Capt. Forrest Dunbar presented the latest version of the proposed code before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, The Alaska Dispatch News reported.

Dunbar, who is leading efforts to get the bill approved, said the new code would create a “functioning system of military justice” for Alaska.

If the new code were to be implemented, it would replace a 60-year-old version. Under the old military code, military offenses like insubordination or being drunk on duty are only subject to administrative penalties.

The bill calls for up to one year of jail time and a dishonorable discharge for penalties such as writing a bad check, breach of peace and indecent exposure. The bill also has several sections that apply to cases typically handled by state prosecutors, including sexual assault and drunken driving.

The first version of the bill brought by Republican committee chair, Gabrielle LeDoux, would have allowed the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to create its code through regulation. But legislators instead chose to ask Dunbar to detail the crimes and punishments into the bill, LeDoux said.

“If it’s a crime, and something people are going to jail for, we felt the Legislature needed to have some input on that,” she said.

According to a federal report released by former Gov. Sean Parnell last year, the state’s current code lacks “teeth.” The report said the guard was “not properly administering justice” to its 4,000 members.

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