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When I look to explain something, I first must define what I am explaining.

(Article 92)

Any person serving in the Armed Forces of America, is guilty of violating this article if they, through any means that can be prevented, disobey any order given by a superior, as long as that order is not itself illegal.

Let us break that down into more easily-digested terms.

Any person in the Armed Forces. That means, anyone who is currently (currently being at the time of the infraction) serving in any component of the Armed Forces. That means active duty, ready reserve, inactive reserve, training, DEP, shipboard, shore, infantry, deployed, on notification for deployment, or even when attached to a civilian job and not wearing a uniform. Any person who fits those criteria is eligible, regardless of rank, duties, time in the service, time remaining until retirement, or history of conduct (either good or bad).

-Through any means that can be prevented. If the service member has any reasonable way to prevent the disobeyal of that order, and failed to, they are guilty. Unpreventable lapses are generally excusable, unless the reason it was unpreventable was the fault of the service member. Example: Order is given to belay a line and you go to your bunk instead: Culpable. Order is given to belay a line and the pylon breaks: Not culpable, unless something you did led to the pylon breaking.

-As long as the order itself is not illegal. Any order that, if carried out, would result in a disobeyal of any of the other UCMJ articles, is illegal. Any order that the superior does not have the authority to give, is illegal. Example: Telling a service member to commit hazing: illegal. Telling a service member to go to another command, when that superior giving the order is not in authority to send service member: illegal.

Article 92 is perhaps the most important article in the entirety of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It lays down the ground law, the absolute line which may not be crossed. Everything else in the UCMJ is explanation of the various forms that disobeying an order can take. Without the support given by Article 92, service members would be free to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and wouldn't be any more accountable than a civilian court. And the Judicial system in this country has been, sadly, much perverted from the goals it was created with.

However, military members are held to a higher standard. We are the line that protects this country, we are the defense against the storm. Without us, this country would not exist, could not exist. And for that, we must be strong, unified, and together. One voice, crying out against the enemy. One team, fighting to keep our countrymen's dreams untroubled. And if one person is dissenting against that, it undermines the entire system. If the captain of a ship can't count on his orders being obeyed, without question, right away and to the best ability of the service member who is given them, then he might as well be sitting out there by himself, shooting his sidearm at the enemy.

The military can only function if orders, when given, are obeyed. And, as much as we would like to trust in the honesty and integrity of the human spirit, of the men and women who made that oath, put their lives on the line for their country, and fight to keep our brothers and sisters free, the sad truth is that there are many out there that, if not given a clear set of rules, a clear set of punishments for transgressions, will not follow the rules, will not care about the punishments, will not be productive, efficient members of the military machine.

That is why Article 92, and the entire UCMJ, are necessary. They reinforce the behavior of those who do the right thing, promoting it and praising it. They punish those who do not do the right thing, undercutting and stamping out such behaviors. With such a system, the bad eggs, those who are unable to fit into the machine, will be ground up by it and spit out. Broken, incomplete, forever bemoaning the lack of foresight and flexibility that would have saved them.

When we all work together, we are the most powerful fighting force the world has ever known.
When we do not, we are no more powerful than the least cohesive among us.

Which would you rather be a part of?

Me, I would rather be part of a team that fights together. To make the world and our country safe.

Article 92 deals with the failure to follow orders or regulations and violation of orders/ regulations. Different situations are covered under Article 92 as follows: violating general order or regulation, violating other written regulation or order, failure to obey lawful order and dereliction of duty.

There are several variations of the charge of Article 92, violation of the UCMJ. These changes require slightly different elements of each charge to prove and are discussed as follows:

a) Violating general order or regulation


That a lawful general of order or regulation existed .
That the accused was duty bound to obey this regulation or order .
That the accused disobeyed or violated this order/ regulation by an act, behavior or alleged intent.
Maximum Punishment: The accused faces dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all allowances and pay and 2 years confinement as maximum punishment.

b) Violating other written regulation or order


That a lawful regulation or order existed
That the accused was fully aware of this order/ regulation
That the accused was bound by duty to obey the regulation/ order
That the accused disobeyed this order/ regulation
Maximum Punishment: The accused faces bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all allowances and pay and 6 months confinement as maximum punishment.

c) Failure to obey lawful order


That a specific lawful order was issued by a member of the United States armed forces .
That the accused was fully aware of the order .
That the accused was duty bound to obey the order .
That he failed to do so .
Maximum Punishment: The accused could get a bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all allowances and pay and up to 6 months confinement if found guilty of this offense.

d) Dereliction of duty


That certain duties were assigned to the accused.
In case of willful dereliction, the prosecution must prove that the accused had knowledge of the duties assigned to him.
In case of negligence/ inefficiency leading to dereliction of duty, the prosecution must prove that there are reasonable grounds to show the accused should have known about his assigned duties and that he failed to carry them out.
Maximum Punishment: For deliberate dereliction of duty, the accused shall receive bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all allowances and pay and 6 months confinement as maximum punishment. For dereliction of duty through inefficiency or neglect, the maximum punishment is 2/3rd of a month's pay for 3 months and three months confinement.

To learn more about this punitive article refer to the Manual for Courts Martial.

Points to Note about Article 92

Willful dereliction of duty attracts a more serious punishment than negligence leading to dereliction.
Circumstantial evidence can be used to show that the accused had knowledge of his duty and, in cases of willful dereliction, circumstantial evidence can be used to show the accused intended to avoid duty.
The serviceman is not guilty of violating this article if the duty is self- imposed.
The lawfulness of the order is an important aspect to consider in these cases.
When the order carries exceptions, the prosecution has to prove that the accused is not subject to the terms of the exception.…...

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