Military Law is primarily a tool for ensuring order and discipline within the armed forces. As such, Military Law provides for punishment of military personnel who act in violation of military statutes.
Court-martial proceedings and punitive discharge involve discipline and punishments authorized by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for minor to serious offenses and chronic offenders.
The summary court-martial is a non-judicial proceeding reserved for relatively minor offenses. The other two types of courts-martial, the special court-martial and the general court-martial, are judicial proceedings that may lead to felony criminal convictions and result in incarceration and/or punitive discharge from the armed forces.