Transitory nature of courts-martial

A court-martial exists temporarily, hears only a limited number of cases, and then is permanently adjourned. The court is called into life, or “convened,” by an officer who has been given such power by Congress, usually by virtue of position (e.g., a commander of an Army division is, under Article 22, UCMJ, authorized to 21-1 convene a general court-martial). These commanders are “convening authorities” and they breathe life into these impermanent courts with a “convening order.” A court may be convened for a certain period of time, or only to hear a specific case (this is often the practice in commands where only a small number of cases are tried, where there is no necessity for standing panels).

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