Analysis of Article 92 of the Uniform Code Of Military Justice

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Disrespect/Non-adherence to lawful orders from Non-commissioned Officer Leadership. The United States military is a disciplined force; it relies on its chain of command as the primary medium to maintain order, and thus, ensure its functions are performed in the most efficient ways possible. According to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (2), it is imperative for the U.S. military to carry out its duties to the best of its ability due to the current state of the world. Dynamic changes have taken place due to globalization but the state still remains the dominant vehicle that is used to provide order in the society, and therefore, the need for an armed force to protect it (The Joint Chiefs of Staff 2). To achieve the above objectives, the military uses codes and legal articles to ensure its personnel adheres to the set rules which leads to a structured system that improves its delivery of military services.

            Despite the mechanisms put in place to ensure conformity is attained, service members can behave in a certain manner that contravenes the orders of the chain of command. Through Articles 89-92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), the military can reprimand a service member for insubordination (FindLaw). This essay discusses articles 91 and 92 of the UCMJ in an attempt to evaluate disobedience or non-adherence to lawful orders issued by a non-commissioned officer (NCO).


Stoner and Lowery (3) posit that the spirit of insubordination has the potential of negatively affecting a work environment, therefore, reducing the probability of an organization to meet its set goals and objectives. FindLaw states instances where the act occurs in the military; if a service member assaults, disobeys, or is disrespectful towards a superior officer (Warrant, NCO, and Commissioned), the member can be found guilty of insubordination under the provisions of the UCMJ. The provisions apply regardless of whether the higher ranking officer is within the same branch of the military with the insubordinate member or irrespective of the service member’s chain of command (FindLaw).

Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO)

NCO's are military personnel who are of a superior rank, but they have not earned it through a commission; a commission, in this case, is a document used to appoint a named military officer to a rank. NCOs usually rise through the ranks through enlisted ranks which are any rank listed below that of a commissioned officer.

Article 91-Insubordination

Article 91 of the UCMJ is the legal basis for acts that fit the scope of insubordination in the military. Power (n.p) claims that any unbecoming behavior towards a superior officer can dire consequences for a service member, the outcome may range from certain disciplinary actions preferred against the offender to the dismissal from the service. The article lists the different elements that can to a military personnel facing charges of insubordination.

            To commit the above offense against an NCO, an enlisted member has to be guilty of the following actions; he or she has to strike or assault an NCO while the superior officer is in the process of executing their duty (Joint Service Committee on Military Justice 2016, IV-21). The enlisted member also can perform an unlawful act when he or she disobeys a lawful order from an NCO and lastly if the member treats the NCO in a disrespectful manner through an actor language while the higher ranking officer is in the middle of executing their duty.

            Each of the above provisions of the statute is qualified by different elements. The section below highlights them.

Strike or Assault

The first condition is that the accused is of the following ranks; warrant or enlisted officer. The accused should also have struck an NCO. The act should during the execution of duty and that the accused knew the victim was an NCO. If the victim was a superior NCO to the perpetrator of the act, other additional elements apply, they are; the accused assaulted his or her superior and he or she had known that the victim was their superior NCO (Joint Service Committee on Military Justice 2016, IV-22).

Disobeying Lawful Order

The rank of the accused is a Warrant or Enlisted Officer. The issuer of the order is an NCO and the member was aware of this fact. The enlisted member had a duty to obey but willfully chose not to (Joint Service Committee on Military Justice 2016, IV-22).

Being Disrespectful or Acting in Contempt

Same as above rank applies. The perpetrator committed or omitted certain behavior or used a disrespectful language towards an NCO and that those acts were within his presence or hearing range. The accused also knew that the military personnel was an NCO and was in the process of performing their duty. The acts committed were meant to disrespect the officer. Lastly, if the victim is the accused direct NCO, this fact and their knowledge of it are added elements (Joint Service Committee on Military Justice 2016, IV-22).

Consequences of Non-Adherence and Insubordination

A special aspect of the article is that it does not require a direct subordinate-superior relationship to exist (Joint Service Committee on Military Justice 2016, IV-23). The factors mentioned above leads to the service member being court-martialed and certain disciplinary actions being taken against them. For assaulting their direct NCO, a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of their pay and benefits, and a confinement of three years are the listed punishment. The same action against another NCO, dishonorable discharge and losing all pay also applies, but the confinement period reduces to 1 year.

            Willfully disobeying an NCO’s order will attract the following penalties; bad conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay including allowances, and a 9-month jail term. Contempt attracts bad conduct discharge, docking of all pay, and incarceration for 6 months for a direct superior and forfeiture of 2/3 of pay for three months and a 3-month confinement term (Power).

Article 92-Failure to Obey Order or Regulation

Article-92 deals with the general disobedience of a lawful order. The text of the statute identifies the violation of a general lawful order, the knowledge of it and the duty to obey, but fails to do so, and being complacent in a service members duties as the grounds for contravening the article (Power). The elements of the article are as stipulated below.

Violation of Lawful Order.

The existence of a lawful order, the warrant or enlisted member mandate to perform it, and his or her unwillingness to execute it are the cited elements of failing to comply with a given legal regulation (Joint Service Committee on Military Justice 2016, IV-23).

Failure to Obey Other Lawful Orders.

The issues are that a lawful order was issued, the accused had the knowledge and duty to follow through, and that they failed to comply (Joint Service Committee on Military Justice 2016, IV-24).

Being Derelict In Carrying Duty.

The first condition is that the accused had received duties that were reasonably within their capability. The next one is that through design, the service member was negligent or guilty of culpable inefficiency. A special element also applies when a person dies or suffers grievous bodily harm due to the complacency of the enlisted service member (Joint Service Committee on Military Justice 2016, IV-24).

Consequences of Not Adhering To a General Lawful Order and Complacency

General orders are issued by the president, the secretary of defense, military department, or homeland security and they are applicable to the issuer and the chain of command under him or her. The legality of the order or regulation depends on the capacity of the issuer to issue it and the fact that it does not contravene the constitution. The failure to comply will lead to the service member being court-martialed and several penalties preferred against them.

 For knowingly and willingly violating a general lawful order, the accused is dishonorably discharged, his or her pay is withheld, and they receive a 2-year jail sentence. For failing to comply with other orders, a bad-conduct discharge, all pay, and allowances are lost, and a 6-month incarceration sentence is issued (Joint Service Committee on Military Justice 2016, IV-25). Dereliction of duties through neglect attracts a fine of 2/3 pay for 3 months and a 3-month sentence, neglect that causes death or injuries leads to a bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay, and a 3-month term, and lastly if the complacency is done willfully, the accused will receive the same treatment as the second condition above but his confinement period will reduce to six months (Joint Service Committee on Military Justice 2016, IV-25).

Significance and Objective of the Two Articles

The objective of the above regulations is to ensure that the military can be able to instill order and discipline among its various ranks in an attempt to ensure it attains smooth operations, and thus, it achieves its goal of being the best and most efficient unit in the world (The Joint Chiefs of Staff 2). Insubordination and non-adherence by service members can negatively affect the above goals since efficiency and delivering of services will be adversely impacted by internal wrangles and disobedience. Controlling compliance through regulations and codes is, therefore, one of the most significant ways the military can ensure its chain of command is able to execute its stipulated mandate.


Order and discipline are important tenets that are required by any military service in the world. The UCMJ codes play an important role in enabling the U.S. military to enforce order and discipline. The essay has analyzed article 91 and 92 that deal with insubordination and failure to comply with lawful order respectively. The evaluation has shown the different wordings of the statutes and the multiple aspects that can lead to a service member being found guilty of the contravention. The laws are significant since they keep military personnel in check and enable the U.S. military to be one of the best in terms of delivering its mandate.

Works Cited

FindLaw. “What is Insubordination?” FindLaw,

FindLaw, 2018,

Joint Service Committee on Military Justice. Manual for Courts-Martial United States (2016 Edition). Virginia: Joint Service Committee on Military Justice, 2016.

Power, R. “Punitive Articles of the UCMJ: Article 92—Failure to obey order or regulation.” The Balance Careers, The Balance Careers, 2017,

Power, R. “Article 91: Insubordinate conduct toward warrant officer, NCO, or PO.” The Balance Careers, The Balance Careers, 2018,

Stoner, E, and Lowery, J. “Navigating Past the “Spirit of Insubordination”: A Twenty-first Century Model Student Conduct Code with a Model Hearing Script.” Journal of College and University Law 31.1 (2004), 1-78.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff. “The National Military Strategy of the United States of America 2015.”, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2015,

December 12, 2023

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