Under the pretence of delivering a brief to the Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Warrant Officer Class 1 Rod Rootham received a Gold Commendation for outstanding contribution to reform of the discipline system on October 14.

“When I entered the room and saw my wife, I did think something was up,” WO1 Rootham said.

“I’m still scratching my head and waiting for somebody to tell me it’s a joke and take it back.

“While I wear the commendation, I wear it on behalf of my team. It is on behalf of all team members, past and present, who contributed to the work we have achieved.” 

The award recognised the achievements that led to improvements to the Military Justice Scheme procedures and governance.

It has made it easier to understand, improved transparency and reduced the admin burden at the unit and command level.

“It had been noticed at senior levels there was a decrease in matters dealt with at summary level, and increase in the use of administrative action,” WO1 Rootham said.

“People had lost confidence in using the system and felt it was too complex and too much delay from the time an incident occurred to when it was dealt with.

“As 95 per cent of matters are guilty pleas, the simplification of the process has significantly reduced the time delays.”

He assisted in the coordination and delivery of training for more than 6000 ADF members throughout Australia on the new process, to meet a demanding timeframe concurrent with the Defence’s support to the 2019-2020 bushfire season.

It was the culmination of work by WO1 Rootham, who joined the Summary Discipline Implementation team at the start of 2019.