UCMJ – United States Code of Military Justice

888. ARTICLE 88. CONTEMPT TOWARD OFFICIALS

10. Punitive Articles

Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.


30 Comments for this entry

  • Anne

    Where can I find regulations regarding an NCO posting negative views of the President on Facebook. I advised this person to think before posting, and then he quoted the Constitution and such. Please advise.

    • Shawn

      It would fall under article 134

    • Pabl0

      If you take the article at face value, it doesn’t appear to apply to NON-commissioned Officers (NCOs). I’m not a lawyer, and this isn’t legal advice, but I would agree that it’s still not a good idea if you serve to spout off your personal opinions of anyone appointed or elected above you.

    • Jeremy

      Negative views do not equal contemptuous.

    • David

      You only care because it is Obama

      • John King

        When on active duty as a JAG, I prosecuted many Marines and Sailors for snotting off about President Ronald Reagan. Your comment about it being “just about Obama” is incorrect.

    • Joseph

      It sounds like you are using your personal political bias to try and ruin someone’s career. I wonder if you will have the same sentiments when Donald Trump is elected.

    • Mike Billips

      Article 134 would cover slanderous/libelous statements or any that could be considered prejudicial to good order and discipline. Specifically objecting to the policies or actions of the President wouldn’t fall under that, but insulting language or calls for his impeachment likely would.

      Slander is speech and libel is written speech that are false and defamatory. Saying the President has been divorced twice isn’t libelous. Calling him a disloyal, pathological liar is a potentially libelous insult, and prejudicial to his ability to command.

  • Brad

    2.13.1. You have the right and duty as an American citizen to vote and to voice your opinions concerning political matters; however, you must be careful that your personal opinions and activities are not directly, or by implication, represented as those of the Air Force. Further, Article 88, UCMJ, prohibits commissioned officers from using contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a Military Department, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the governor or legislature of any state, territory, commonwealth, or possession in which he or she is on duty or present. Enlisted personnel who make derogatory or disrespectful statements about political leaders may violate Article 134, UCMJ, when their military status is associated with the statements (such as making these comments on a social networking site where the member’s employment with the Air Force is also listed).

  • Matt

    I know, the feeling. I really didn’t like what I heard. I did my research to find out what could be done with comments by an NCO about our President. Only officers, because of their oath. It was in the last election, a few hours before Obama was re-elected. It wasn’t professional, that’s for sure.

  • Baller

    If the conduct is contrary to good order and discipline then a violation of UCMJ Art. 93 (Failure to obey a lawful order or regulation) has occured.

  • SFC Cox

    You need to contact JAG, UCMJ has nit caught up with technology. They will tell you specifics on how you need to handle the situation, legally.

  • Bob

    I’m looking for the same

  • Carl

    Article 134, regarding good order and discipline.

  • Ken

    Please reply< I also have a soldier who is doing this.

  • Kurtis

    Anne, I blieve it could be covered by Article 91 as, the office of the President is a Non-commissioned officer.

  • cdg

    Why are you so concerned with what someone says about Obama? Worse was said daily about Bush & you didn’t turn anyone in for that did you? Sheesh.

  • jwc

    You been in the service long? Did it bother to hear that stuff prior to the CIC’s tenure?

    I got a shiny new quarter that says it didn’t.

  • Cory

    Anne,

    Article 88 only applies to Officers due to them holding a position as a Commissioned Officer of the United States. An NCO does not hold a commission so is not an official Officer of the United States so Article 88 does not apply in anyway. He was correct about the Constitution and most likely was citing the First Amendment to you, but with military service there are narrow limitations not prohibitions on the Enlisted with the First Amendment.

  • Nguyen

    it is officers only, because the president i believe is the one who signed and commissions them. also now of days you need to becarefull in what say, because you could be charged with “bringing discredit upon the armed forces” which is light had to hold but.. it possible

  • David

    I would like to know if a base commander has the authority, and most importantly the jurisdiction, to re-leave a person of duty thereby discharging him without the requirement of charges and hearing, or due process of law?

  • Steve

    He’s violating Article 92 (failure to obey a regulation). This is assuming he is in the Army or that his branch has a similar regulation. The Army has a regulation that imparts the behavioral standards for officers onto enlisted personnel. I can’t remember the AR-number of it. But I believe it specifically mentions that enlisted personnel must also adhere to the standards of conduct set forth in Article 88.

  • William

    Does this article include retired officers?

  • Von

    There are two types of people, Civilians and Military and we live by a separate set of rules. Make it known to his CMC or Division Officer, maybe they don’t understand.

  • Kenneth Daly

    Everytime Obama goes to Enter marine corp one, he absent-mindedly or not,refuses to acknowledge the existence of the marine at the foot of the steps…is Obama (being on the Chain of Command obligate in any way by the UCMJ. to salute in return 0r at least shake the man’s hand??

  • Kenneth Daly

    Every Time Obama approaches the Enterance to marine corp one, he absent-mindedly or not,refuses to acknowledge the existence of the marine at the foot of the steps…is Obama (being on the Chain of at least to shake the man’s hand??

    Reply

  • Al Parker

    Are retired military officers subject to the provisions of the UCMJ, especially the portions dealing with politics?

  • Francisco

    Look up:
    https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/DOCLIBS/ARMYLAWYER.NSF/0/686b63c63699069485256e5b0054e11a/$FILE/Article%201.pdf
    Article in jagcnet. Gives a good eexplanation. Bottom line: Does not apply to NCOs. As to officers, a First Ammendment defense won’t work.

  • Brian Folks

    Does this apply to Officers in the Air Force Reserves?

    Colonel Ted Lieu has been posting profanity laced comments online and calling the current Commander-in-Chief “illegitimate”

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