UCMJ – United States Code of Military Justice


10. Punitive Articles

Any warrant officer or enlisted member who–

(1) strikes or assaults a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer, while that officer is in the execution of his office;

(2) willfully disobeys the lawful order of a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer; or

(3) treats with contempt or is disrespectful in language or deportment toward a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer while that officer is in the execution of his office;

shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

27 Comments for this entry

  • Cameron

    If you are in a position of authority such as a fitness leader carrying out the duties of the command fitness leader, and furthermore the C.O. and big navy, but are E-3 or below, are you able to punish someone above you under this article due to the fact you are in a position of authority?

    • Caleb

      That is a big negative. The full version of Article 91 states clearly that this Article does not protect against “Acting” NCO’s or Petty Officers, and does not apply to or “protect” E-3 and below.

    • Chris Hogan

      I believe you cannot punish someone under this article, however, you may be able to punish under a different article since the accused is undermining the commander’s Physical Readiness Program, which you have been appointed to carry out.

    • Red

      As enlisted you cannot “punish” anybody. Your best course of action is to take it up YOUR chain of command.

    • Irizarry

      This is a bit late but- yes. Positional authority authorizes you to address situations as you see fit. I am just an airman but this has been drilled into my head. If the person(s) does not comply with you, then you may bring it to the attention of someone higher than them if need be. I work on a flight deck and personnel up here (reguardless of rank) respect the authority that we have because all of us, even the most junior of persons, have positional authority. This is OUR world, not theirs. So therefore, since you’ve been appointed as a CFL and have been put in charge of a program, all persons assigned to that program are under your command. All you need to do is be respectful in the way you go about it.

    • Phillip

      No Cameron, you cannot. Unless you are Warrant, Non-Commissioned, or Petty Officer.

    • Jeremiah

      This puts you in a unique position, because you do have positional authority in circumstances like this. However as an E-3 or below, or really as an E-6 and below you will find that you cannot punish anyone yourself.

      This question was asked over a year ago and I am only answering so that others may get their similar questions answered.

      As an NCO or Petty Officer you can counsel them, however to have a punishment enacted should start from your E-7 level, with which your E-5’s and E-6’s can and should be happy to help you with if they find your assessment of the sitation to be correct and not blown out of proportion.

    • Mr. Joe

      The person E3 is given a delegated leadership position. He is given the job by a superior. He personally cannot discipline a superior, but the superior must listen to the orders of the E3 as long as he/she is polite and still maintains decorum in regard to the higher ranking person.

      If the person requires someone else to discipline, that’s what the chain of commmand is for.

      A good example, an MP has authority given by the base commander to stop the cars and if need be, ask the people out, search vehicles, etc. He is given that authority by the “old man.” He/she still has to follow proper decorum in regard to rank.

      I hope this helps.

    • David

      As an E-3, you don’t apply in that way to Art. 91. However, failure to obey a lawful order does apply.

    • David King

      “shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” No one of any rank may use this article as authority for meting out punishment. Only after being found guilty in a court-martial may a person be punished under this article, and then as the court-martial directs. Duh!

    • Pedro

      Cameron, you are only facilitating the FA as a duty and not in position of an office. The really question would be if there is a violation of not following an order/regulation (Art. 92). More details would be needed to understand why you ask if you could punish. As stated by many, you cannot punish. This action is held at the officer level. Enlisted NCO/SNCOs, performing within the authority of their held office, normally will provide evidence/MFRs/proof of insubordinate acts to support a commander’s decsion to press forward with a court-martial or other administrative actions.

  • John

    Only commanders are able to instill punishment under the UCMJ. As an fitness leader regardless of rank you are administering a lawful order. If there is a violation of the order you are bound by duty to report the violation to the proper authority.

  • Goose

    As Enlisted you can’t “punish” anyone to begin with.

  • Drew

    No, because you are not an NCO. Also, “Fitness Leader” is not a position of authority. It just for the purpose to leading morning PT. An E-3 will never be able to punish anyone that is higher in rank. Never.

  • John Snow

    Can you clearly define office. I am assuming the correct definition is as fallows.

    1. a special duty, charge, or position conferred by an exercise of governmental authority and for a public purpose : a position of authority to exercise a public function and to receive whatever emoluments may belong to it
    b : a position of responsibility or some degree of executive authority.

    If this is the correct definition can there be a time when someone who is enlisted or commissioned not be executing there office?

  • Junior

    No becuase you are NOT a warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer.

  • Nguyen

    you can get around and get him on Article 92 -is derelict in the performance of his duties – which is his duty to follow the instructions of the leader. should be counseled by the person who instructed him to participate in the fitness group

  • Gabriela

    My husband is accused of overfilling the fluid on a vic thus causing it to break down on the way out to the field. He did not touch the vic for 48 hours before the vic broke down however there is no proof that he did or did not. Now they are trying to charge him with an article 91. Which makes no sense to me. I have studied the ucmj and military law for a while now. Any advice or comments??

  • RNM

    what if its an e-4 disrespecting an e-5? what could be the possible outcomes if the soldiers minds their p’s and q’s and starts acting right again?

  • Amanda

    What happens when the junior sailor is constantly being pushed around, talked down to, cussed at , and being yelled at by Chiefs and officers

  • Amanda

    Or what about the Chiefs and officers disrespecting junior enlisted

  • Darryl

    I am an NCO, and my senior NCO is talking about me in a negative way to E4’s. She is an E7, I am an E5.

    What Article covers this type of abuse if any?

  • MSgt

    I have a SSgt with almost 20 yrs subordinate that I have to constantly needing to remind him to do his assigned taskings. I almost always need to check up on him, to find that he is doing something other than his assigned taskings . I am the NCOIC of an extremely busy office. As you can tell my tolerance is getting short and I’m not speaking at a pleasant tone. My question is, can this person that is not excepting his responsibilities in doing his taskings that need constant reminders and gets to a point where he could getting his butt chewed out actually record the counseling (if u call it that), then use it to let others hear the hidden recording, pass his entire chain-of-command (to include the unit first Sgt and unit commander) and go straight to the Group level…and also let others hear it and brag that he got me…and is showing he’s happy “he got me” for what he’s calling it creating a hostile workplace? Do I have any rights being that he technically is not following the orders of his non commissioned officer? I have shown patience as much as I can..to the point where I have to physically map exactly what or how the tasking needs to be completed…given he’s a SSgt, almost 20 yrs, with 5 skill level (he cross-trained for at least 5 yrs or so in this new AFSC. Please advise. Ty

  • Callan

    I was told I would get an Article-15 for being irritated when trying to talk to my NCO (E-5). I was simply asking to have a better method of communication and to be more involved at work. There is this angry disposition, threatening, and condescending manner toward me as a new solider at the unit. It seemed unwarranted and I felt that I should speak directly to my NCO about it respectfully. I was told that I would get an Article 15 for insubordination because when the cursing and raising of voice came, I appeared irritated and slightly looked away rolling my eyes, but not in THAT way. I felt disrespected from my foot in the door, asked for some kind of reasonable level of respect as an (E-4) and I got threatened with an Article-15. Is this really how things work in the Army?

  • Aaron

    Amanda, a junior Sailor can be talked to like that from Chiefs and Officers. The screaming rolls downhill in the military. (There is no concept of senior disrespecting juniors)

  • Tony

    I had a rough day, stressed, many things happen all at the same time. A soldier comes to me sent by a CW2 to collect a report. I told the soldier to go tell the CW2 to fuck himself. Unfortunately the soldier went ahead and delivered the message. What manner of trouble am I pertaining to article 91 of the UCMJ?

    I have already apologized to the CW2.

  • red

    can someone use this against you with an e4 promotable? You’re still a SPC you haven’t been given on paper stripes yet so I don’t see how.

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