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Punitive Articles of the UCMJ

Article 92—Failure to obey order or regulation

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Text.

“Any person subject to this chapter who—

    (1) violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation;

    (2) having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by a member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or

    (3) is derelict in the performance of his duties; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

Elements.

(1) Violation of or failure to obey a lawful general order or regulation.

    (a) That there was in effect a certain lawful general order or regulation;

    (b) That the accused had a duty to obey it; and

    (c) That the accused violated or failed to obey the order or regulation.

(2) Failure to obey other lawful order.

    (a) That a member of the armed forces issued a certain lawful order;

    (b) That the accused had knowledge of the order;

    (c) That the accused had a duty to obey the order; and

    (d) That the accused failed to obey the order.

(3) Dereliction in the performance of duties.

    (a) That the accused had certain duties;

    (b) That the accused knew or reasonably should have known of the duties; and

    (c) That the accused was (willfully) (through neglect or culpable inefficiency) derelict in the performance of those duties.

Explanation.

(1) Violation of or failure to obey a lawful general order or regulation.

    (a) General orders or regulations are those orders or regulations generally applicable to an armed force which are properly published by the President or the Secretary of Defense, of Transportation, or of a military department, and those orders or regulations generally applicable to the command of the officer issuing them throughout the command or a particular subdivision thereof which are issued by:

      (i) an officer having general court-martial jurisdiction;

      (ii) a general or flag officer in command; or

      (iii) a commander superior to (i) or (ii).

    (b) A general order or regulation issued by a commander with authority under Article 92(1) retains its character as a general order or regulation when another officer takes command, until it expires by its own terms or is rescinded by separate action, even if it is issued by an officer who is a general or flag officer in command and command is assumed by another officer who is not a general or flag officer.

    (c) A general order or regulation is lawful unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the laws of the United States, or lawful superior orders or for some other reason is beyond the authority of the official issuing it. See the discussion of lawfulness in paragraph 14c(2)(a).

    (d) Knowledge. Knowledge of a general order or regulation need not be alleged or proved, as knowledge is not an element of this offense and a lack of knowledge does not constitute a defense.

    (e) Enforceability. Not all provisions in general orders or regulations can be enforced under Article 92(1). Regulations which only supply general guide-lines or advice for conducting military functions may not be enforceable under Article 92(1).

(2) Violation of or failure to obey other lawful order.

    (a) Scope. Article 92(2) includes all other lawful orders which may be issued by a member of the armed forces, violations of which are not chargeable under Article 90, 91, or 92(1). It includes the violation of written regulations which are not general regulations. See also subparagraph (1)(e) above as applicable.

    (b) Knowledge. In order to be guilty of this offense, a person must have had actual knowledge of the order or regulation. Knowledge of the order may be proved by circumstantial evidence.

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