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Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage

Facing a court-martial, UCMJ action, Administrative Separation Board, or other Adverse Administrative Action for Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage? Call our experienced military defense lawyers at 1-800-921-8607 for a free consultation.

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Note: This law applies only to Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage offenses committed on and after 1 January 2019.

What is Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage?

Article 103A Ucmj Attempted EspionageArticle 103a of the UCMJ addresses the crime of attempted espionage, which involves attempting to gather, transmit, or deliver defense information to a foreign entity with the intent to aid a foreign power. This offense carries severe penalties, including confinement, dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay, and reduction in rank. The specific punishment depends on the offense’s date, with variations in sentencing parameters and maximum punishments. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.)

If accused of attempted espionage under Article 103a UCMJ, seeking assistance from the best military defense lawyers is crucial. The complexities of military law and the severity of the charges necessitate a robust defense strategy. Experienced court martial lawyers can navigate the intricate legal landscape, protecting the accused’s rights. They can scrutinize the evidence, challenge procedural errors, and provide a comprehensive defense to mitigate potential penalties or achieve an acquittal.

Engaging skilled legal representation from a firm like Gonzalez & Waddington ensures that the defense is tailored to the case’s specific circumstances. Their knowledge and experience in military law make them well-equipped to handle the unique challenges of a court-martial, providing the best

possible outcome for the accused. Given the high stakes of an attempted espionage charge, securing the services of proficient court martial lawyers is essential for safeguarding one’s future and career.

Note: The maximum and minimum punishments for Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage vary depending on the date of the offense.

What are the Elements of Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage?

  1. That (state the time and place alleged), the accused committed a certain  overt act, to wit: _______;
  2. That the act was done with intent to commit espionage against the United States;
  3. That the act amounted to more than mere preparation; and
  4. That the act apparently tended to bring about the offense of espionage.

What are the Maximum Punishments for Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage?

For offenses committed between 1 January 2019 and 27 December 2023:

  • Life without eligibility for parole
  • Dishonorable Discharge, Bad Conduct Discharge, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1

For Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage offenses committed after 27 December 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage is a Category 5 Offense – Confinement from 240-480 months (20 to 40 years)
  • Dishonorable Discharge, Bad Conduct Discharge, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Note: The Military Judge MAY impose a period of confinement less than the jurisdictional maximum period of confinement upon finding specific facts that warrant such a sentence. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.), Appendix 12B-C

Combined UCMJ Maximum Punishment Charts

Sample Specification for Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage

In that Lt Col Jennifer Brickell, US Air Force, did, at or near Washington, DC, on or about 28 May 2025, with intent or reason to believe it would be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of Russia, a foreign nation, attempt to deliver Top Secret Nuclear Cyber Attack Program, Code Named “Eye of the Needle,” relating to the national defense, which directly concerned nuclear cryptographic information, a major element of defense strategy to Vladimir Mendachev, a representative of Sasha Putin an agent of a foreign government indirectly by dropping a thumb drive in Vladimir Mendachev mailbox.

Model Specification for Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage

In that __________ (personal jurisdiction data), did, (at/on board—location), on or about  _________, with intent or reason to believe it would be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of __________, a foreign nation, attempt to (communicate) (deliver) (transmit) (__________) (description of item) (a document) (a writing) (a Code book) (a sketch) (a photograph) (a photographic negative) (a blueprint) (a plan) (a map) (a model) (a note) (an instrument) (an appliance) (information) relating to the national defense, [(which directly concerned (nuclear weaponry) (military spacecraft) (military satellites) (early warnings systems) (__________, a means of defense or retaliation against a large scale attack) (war plans) (communications intelligence) (cryptographic information) (__________, a major weapons system) (__________, a major element of defense strategy)] to __________ ((a representative of) (an officer of) (an agent of) (an employee of) (a subject of) (a citizen of)) ((a foreign government) (a faction within a foreign country) (a party within a foreign country) (a military force within a foreign country) (a naval force within a foreign country)) (indirectly by _________).

What are the Definitions for Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage?

To constitute an attempt, there must be an act that amounts to more than mere preparation; that is, an act that is a substantial step and a direct movement toward the commission of the prohibited (communication) (delivery) (transmittal). Moreover, the act must tend to bring about the prohibited (communication) (delivery) (transmittal) and be done with the specific intent to bring about the (communication) (delivery) (transmission) of the matter to the (person(s)) (or) (entity) (entities) with the intent, or reason to believe, that the matter would be used to the injury of the United States or the advantage of a foreign nation.

For an act to tend to bring about the commission of an offense means that the actual offense of espionage would have occurred except for (a circumstance unknown to the accused) (an unexpected intervening circumstance) (__________) which prevented completion of the offense.

“Intent or reason to believe” that the information is “to be used to the injury of the United States or the advantage of a foreign nation” means that the accused acted in bad faith and without lawful authority concerning information not lawfully accessible to the public.

“Instrument, appliance, or information relating to the national defense” includes the full range of modern technology and matter that may be developed in the future, including chemical or biological agents, computer technology, and other matters related to the national defense.

“Foreign country” includes those countries that have and have not been recognized by the United States.

Other instructions for Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage

Instruction 7-3, Circumstantial Evidence, is normally applicable.

Legal References of Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage

US v. Richardson, 33 MJ 127 (CMA 1991) Earlier versions of this instruction about the intent element contained the words “bad faith OR without authority.” Instructing as to “without authority” in the alternative to “bad faith” was expressly rejected in US v. Richardson.

Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage Military Defense Lawyers

Background of Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage

Article 103a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) pertains to attempted espionage. Espionage is the act of spying or using spies to obtain confidential information about a government or organization. Attempted espionage occurs when an individual takes substantial steps toward committing espionage, even if the act is not completed. This article was created to address the severe threat posed by espionage to national security and military operations.

Basics of Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage

To secure a conviction for attempted espionage under Article 103a, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Intent: The accused intended to commit espionage by seeking to obtain or transmit national defense information to a foreign entity.
  • Action: The accused took substantial steps towards committing espionage, demonstrating a clear progression towards the act.
  • National Defense Information: The information related to national defense and its disclosure could harm the United States or aid a foreign power.

Punishments for Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage

The punishments for attempted espionage under Article 103a are severe and can include:

  • Confinement: Up to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
  • Death Penalty: In extreme cases, if the attempted espionage involves particularly sensitive or damaging information, the death penalty may be considered.
  • Dishonorable Discharge: A separation from the service with a dishonorable discharge.
  • Forfeiture of Pay and Allowances: Total forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

Collateral Consequences of Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage Conviction

A conviction for attempted espionage under Article 103a can have numerous collateral consequences, including:

  • Loss of Security Clearance: Permanent revocation of any security clearances, severely limiting employment opportunities in fields requiring such clearance.
  • Employment Issues: Difficulty obtaining civilian employment due to the nature of the conviction and the dishonorable discharge.
  • Loss of Benefits: Loss of military benefits, including retirement pay, VA benefits, and healthcare.
  • Reputation Damage: Significant damage to personal and professional reputation.
  • Civil Liability: Potential civil lawsuits from the government for damages.

Purpose of Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage

The primary purpose of penalizing attempted espionage under Article 103a UCMJ is to safeguard national security and maintain the integrity of military operations. Espionage poses a severe threat to the safety and effectiveness of the armed forces. By criminalizing attempted espionage, the military aims to:

  • Protect National Security: Ensure that sensitive information related to national defense is not compromised.
  • Deterrence: Deter potential offenders by highlighting the severe consequences of such actions.
  • Maintain Discipline: Uphold the standards of conduct necessary for military readiness and effectiveness.

In summary, Article 103a’s attempted espionage provisions enforce the military’s commitment to protecting national security and maintaining high discipline and integrity within its ranks. If you are suspected or accused of Article 103a UCMJ Attempted Espionage, speak with one of our experienced military court martial lawyers to discuss your case.

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