Article 92 (UCMJ) or Failure to Obey an Order or Regulation

If you’re a service member of the United States Armed Forces, you’re probably aware of the importance of the United Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The UCMJ is a federal law that serves as the foundation of the military justice system.

Article 92, or Failure to Obey an Order or Regulation from Military Superiors is detailed in the UCMJ. What exactly does Article 92 UCMJ cover, and what happens if an accused violates this rule?

military member is accused of violating lawful orders

Defining Article 92 of the UCMJ

According to the UCMJ, Article 92 is when the accused violated the standard operating procedure of obeying a general order or regulation in the military. Maintaining the lawful order is vital in the US military, and if an accused failed to follow orders, the consequences can be severe.

Unfortunately, there are few requirements for proving that someone failed to obey a lawful general order, but how exactly can one determine if an order was disobeyed?

Article 92 covers three offenses, namely:

  • Violation or failure to obey lawful general order or regulation. Under this offense, there should be proof of a particular lawful general order or regulation. The accused must have been obligated to follow that order or regulation and violated it.
  • Failure to obey other lawful orders. Under this offense, an Armed Forces member must have issued a certain lawful order. The accused must’ve been aware that the Armed Forces issued that lawful order and had a duty to obey it. However, they failed to do so.
  • Dereliction of duty. Under this offense, the accused must have had certain duties of which they aware, without a reasonable doubt. That person was willfully, or through neglect, or through culpable inefficiency, derelict in performing said duties.

The Relevance of Article 92 in the Armed Forces

Did you know that failure to obey an order or willful dereliction is common in the US military? Given how maintaining lawful order is vital to a military mission, it’s obligatory for service members to follow an order or regulation ordered by their service branch. Order and discipline are critical to the military’s overall operations. Failure to obey these orders can have severe consequences.

However, it should be highlighted that a person can only be accused of violating Article 92 if an authority figure within the military issues an official order or regulation. The particular order in question must have retained a valid military purpose even after a change in command. It should also be proven that the accused knew of this order or regulation.

Getting promoted in the military is a tremendous honor and obtaining a promotion can help maintain order. Article 92 enforces an authority figure’s right to be respected according to the hierarchy and rules of the military system.

Article 92: Types of Offenses and Consequences

What would be the maximum punishment for people who have failed to obey orders? Well, the consequences of one’s actions would depend on the offense committed.

If a service member fails to ‘obey lawful general order or regulation,’ the maximum punishment includes a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for two years. For violators who fail to ‘obey other lawful orders,’ the most severe consequence a person may face include a foul conduct discharge, confinement for six months, and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

For cases involving dereliction of duty through neglect or culpable inefficiency, the worst-case scenario can result in confinement for three months and forfeiture of two-thirds of pay a month for three months. However, if that case of dereliction of duty through neglect or culpable inefficiency caused grievous bodily harm or, worse, death, the consequences are more severe. In extreme cases, the accused may face confinement for 18 months, a bad-conduct discharge, and all pay and allowance forfeiture.

Regarding cases involving willfully derelict military personnel, the maximum punishment includes confinement for six months, a bad-conduct discharge, and pay and allowance forfeiture. Suppose the incident consists of willful dereliction of duty that resulted in grievous bodily harm or death. That case may call for confinement for two years, a dishonorable discharge, and all pay and allowance forfeiture.

Regardless of which offense under Article 92 the accused violated, having a violation of Article 92 in one’s record can have long-lasting effects. Why? A person who receives a discharge for bad conduct won’t be able to maximize the benefits of being a military veteran. This discharge type will be reflected in one’s permanent records forever. It may also affect the accused’s employment options in the future.

Meanwhile, forfeiture of one’s pay and allowances can cause long-term financial harm. If the service member involved in the incident is the sole provider in a family, having their financial flow affected by dereliction of duty may lead to long-term debt or an avalanche of finance-related problems. Confinement can psychologically affect the accused service member, affecting their morale in the long run.

Defending Against Failure to Obey An Order and Dereliction

If a military member is accused of violating lawful orders, it won’t mean that they are subject to the maximum punishment automatically. Not all cases that involve culpable inefficiency result in extreme consequences.

The key to defending against violation of Article 92 is knowledge of the lawful order issued. The accused party should thoroughly understand the stipulations they were subject to. This would help them find sufficient evidence in their defense.

This is where a military defense attorney can be of service. If you or someone you know has violated a certain lawful general order, it would be best to confer with an expert in military law. It would be best to have someone who understands Article 92 well and can defend you properly.


group of military soldiers standing in line

Disobeying certain duties can have long-term effects. Once the Armed Forces issued an order or regulation, a service member must obey accordingly. Fortunately, the worst can be evaded with the right support. To verify active duty statuses and in compliance the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA), sign up here.


What is the maximum punishment for Article 92?

Punishment depends on the type of offense involved. In the worst-case scenario, the punishment might include confinement for two years, a dishonorable discharge, and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

What are examples of derelictions of duty?

An example would be falling asleep in a manned post during one’s duty schedule. Another example is getting intoxicated while on duty.

What is a negligent dereliction of duty?

This happens when a person fails to perform their duties or performs them with culpable inefficiency. This may have been willfully or through neglect.

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