Yes, yes they can–a CCA can set aside a mandatory DD

In United States v. Kelly, __ M.J. __, No.17-0559/AR the CAAF decides that a court of criminal appeals has the power to disapprove a mandatory minimum punitive discharge, reversing the published en banc (but non-unanimous) decision of the Army CCA.

While Congress changed the law to impose a mandatory dishonorable discharge in some cases, they did not change Article 66(c), UCMJ under which a CCA acts to determine whether or not the findings and sentence of a court-martial should be approved.  With this in mind, CAAF decides in favor of the CCA’s power to disapprove a DD.