On October 17, 2006, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) was amended to extend UCMJ jurisdiction over persons serving with or accompanying US armed forces in the field.... Since then, commanders have had avaliable this additional UCMJ disciplinary authority.
The unique nature of this extended UCMJ jurisdiction over civilians requires sound management over when, where and by whom such jurisdiction is exercised. There is a particular need for clarity regarding the legal framework that should govern a command response to any illegal activities by Department of Defense civilian employees and DoD contractor personnel overseas with our Armed Forces.
This latest memo from Secretary Gates does precisely that, clarifying once again that PSCs like Blackwater are accountable to the military when serving with it.