UCMJ – United States Code of Military Justice

815. ARTICLE 15. COMMANDING OFFICER’S NON-JUDICIAL PUNISHMENT

03 Non-Judicial Punishment

815. 15. Commanding Officer’s non-judicial punishment

(a) Under such regulations as the President may prescribe, and under such additional regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary concerned, limitations may be placed on the powers granted by this article with respect to the kind and amount of punishment authorized, the categories of commanding officers and warrant officers exercising command authorized to exercise those powers, the applicability of this article to an accused who demands trial by court-martial, and the kinds of courts-martial to which the case may be referred upon such a demand. However, except in the case of a member attached to or embarked in a vessel, punishment may not be imposed upon any member of the armed forces under this article if the member has, before the imposition of such punishment, demanded trial by court-martial in lieu of such punishment. Under similar regulations, rules may be prescribed with respect to the suspension of punishments authorized by regulations of the Secretary concerned, a commanding officer exercising general court-martial jurisdiction or an officer of general or flag rank in command may delegate his powers under this article to a principal assistant.

(b) Subject to subsection (a) any commanding officer may, in addition to or in lieu of admonition or reprimand, impose one or more of the following disciplinary punishments for minor offenses without the intervention of a court-martial–

(1) upon officers of his command–

(A) restriction to certain specified limits, with or without suspension from duty, for not more that 30 consecutive days;

(B) if imposed by an officer exercising general court-martial jurisdictions or an officer of general flag rank in command–

(i) arrest in quarters for not more than 30 consecutive days;

(ii) forfeiture of not more than one-half of one month’s pay per month for two months;

(iii) restriction to certain specified limits, with or without suspension from duty, for not more than 60 consecutive days;

(iv) detention of not more than one-half of one month’s pay per month for three months;

(2) upon other personnel of his command–

(A) if imposed upon a person attached to or embarked in a vessel, confinement on bread and water or diminished rations for not more than three consecutive days;

(B) correctional custody for not more than seven consecutive days;

(C) forfeiture of not more than seven days’ pay;

(D) reduction to the next inferior pay grade, if the grade from which demoted is within the promotion authority of the officer imposing the reduction or any officer subordinate to the one who imposes the reduction;

(E) extra duties, including fatigue or other duties, for not more than 14 consecutive days;

(F) restriction to certain specified limits, with or without suspension from duty, for not more than 14 consecutive days;

(G) detention of not more than 14 days’ pay;

(H) if imposed by an officer of the grade of major or lieutenant commander, or above–

(i) the punishment authorized under clause (A);

(ii) correctional custody for not more than 30 consecutive days;

(iii) forfeiture of not more than one-half of one month’s pay per month for two months;

(iv) reduction to the lowest or any intermediate pay grade, if the grade from which demoted is within the promotion authority of the officer imposing the reduction or any officer subordinate to the one who imposes the reduction, by an enlisted member in a pay grade above E-4 may not be reduced more than two pay grades;

(v) extra duties, including fatigue or other duties, for not more than 45 consecutive days;

(vi) restriction to certain specified limits, with or without suspension from duty, for not more than 60 consecutive days;

(vii) detention of not more than one-half of one month’s pay per month for three months.

Detention of pay shall be for a stated period of not more than one year but if the offender’s term of service expires earlier, the detention shall terminate upon that expiration. No two or more of the punishments of arrest in quarters, confinement or bread and water or diminished rations, correctional custody, extra duties, and restriction may be combined to run consecutively in the maximum amount impossible for each. Whenever any of those punishments are combined to run consecutively, there must be an apportionment. In addition, forfeiture of pay may not bee combined with detention of pay without an apportionment. For the purpose of this subsection, “correctional custody” is the physical restraint of a person during duty or nonduty hours and may include extra duties, fatigue duties, or hard labor. If practicable, correctional custody will not be served in immediate association with persons awaiting trial or held in confinement pursuant to trial by court-martial.

(c) An officer in charge may impose upon enlisted members assigned to the unit of which he is in charge such of the punishment authorized under subsection (b)(2)(A)-(G) as the Secretary concerned may specifically prescribe by regulation.

(d) The officer who imposes the punishment authorized in subsection (b), or his successor in command, may, at any time, suspend probationally any part or amount of the unexecuted punishment imposed and may suspend probationally a reduction in grade or forfeiture imposed under subsection (b), whether or not executed. In addition, he may, at any time, remit or mitigate any part or amount of the unexecuted punishment imposed and may set aside in whole or in part the punishment, whether executed or unexecuted, and restore all rights, privileges and property affected. He may also mitigate reduction in grade to forfeiture or detention of pay. When mitigating–

(1) arrest in quarters to restriction;

(2) confinement on bread and water or diminished rations to correctional custody;

(3) correctional custody confinement on bread and water or diminished rations to extra duties or restriction, or both; or

(4) extra duties to restriction;

the mitigated punishment shall not be for a greater period than the punishment mitigated. When mitigating forfeiture of pay to detention of pay, the amount of detention shall not be greater than the amount of the forfeiture. When mitigating reduction in grade to forfeiture or detention of pay, the amount of the forfeiture or detention shall not be greater than the amount that could have been imposed initially under this article by the officer who imposed the punishment mitigated.

(e) A person punished under this article who considers his punishment unjust or disproportionate to the offense may, through proper channels, appeal to the next superior authority. The appeal shall be promptly forwarded and decided, but the person punished may in the meantime be required to undergo the punishment adjudged. The superior authority may exercise the same powers with respect to punishment imposed as may be exercised under subsection (d) by the officer who imposed the punishment. Before acting on appeal from a punishment of–

(1) arrest in quarters for more than seven days;

(2) correctional custody for more than seven days;

(3) forfeiture of more than seven days’ pay;

(4) reduction of one or more pay grades from the fourth or a higher pay grade;

(5) extra duties for more than 14 days;

(6) restriction for more than 14 days; or

(7) detention of more than 14 days’ pay;

the authority who is to act on the appeal shall refer the case to a judge advocate or a lawyer of the Department of Transportation for consideration and advice, and may so refer the case upon appeal from any punishment imposed under subsection (b).

(f) The imposition and enforcement of disciplinary punishment under this article for any act or omission is not a bar to trial by court-martial for a serious crime or offense growing out of the same act or omission, and not properly punishable under this article; but the fact that a disciplinary punishment has been enforced may be shown by the accuse upon trial, and when so shown shall be considered in determining the measure of punishment to be adjudged in the event of a finding of guilty.

(g) The Secretary concerned may, by regulation, prescribe the form of records to be kept under this article and may also prescribe that certain categories of those proceedings shall be in writing.


17 Comments for this entry

  • Tia Chamblee

    I wanted to know if a Noncommissioned Officer can impose restriction on a Soldier at any level. For example, a given Senior NCO has an extremely obese Soldier. The NCO told this Soldier member that he is “restricted” from using any vending machines and is refrained from going to any fast food restaurants. I thought restriction or “this type of action” was a form of non-judicial punishment that can only be in imposed by a Commissioned Officer.

    • Earle, Z.

      We have physical fitness standards. He will likely be seperated if he doesn’t “Shape up.”

    • Doug

      No. An NCO cannot impose a restriction. In addition, most commanders can’t prohibit a Soldier from going to AAFES, that is the exclusive province of the Garrison Commander – though in some cases – they may be able to restrict them to their quarters (extremely rare and should never be done without consulting a Judge Advocate).

  • dan

    My is a spc4 in an adulterous affair with another Spc4. Her command ignored me until I contacted cid. Now im wondering how much time do they have to start the article 15 and when do I get to present my evidence?

  • Robert

    My family and under age children were on R&R on Base and for some unknown reason they were search with no WARRANT, harassed and humiliated by the military police/SP’s based on a 911 call that never took place and was confirmed by the front desk clerk. Can someone please advice.

    • Charles Jordan

      If a person enters a federal installation, they have pre-consented to search.

      Upon entering a military base where signs are posted warning that persons on the base are subject to being searched. (United States v. Ellis (5th Cir. 1977) 547 F.2nd 863, Naval base; United States v. Jenkins, supra; Morgan v. United States (9th Cir. 2003) 323 F.3rd 776.)

      Consent is implied by the totality of all the circumstances. For instance, in the case of a military base, one implicitly consents to the search of his or her vehicle when driving upon the base and noting:

      The barbed-wire fence;
      The security guards at the gate;
      The sign warning of the possibility of search; and
      A civilian’s common-sense awareness of the nature of a military base.
      (United States v. Jenkins, supra, at p. 78; Morgan v. United States, supra, at pp. 787-788.)

  • Sam

    If local authorities do not grant jurisdiction in a case, and a service member was ordered to pay a $300.00 fine for his behavior, can a commander still impose non-judicial punishment. What are the commander’s options?

    • Charles Jordan

      Yes. Double jeapardy is common. If a member is subject to the UCMJ, he can be charged separately for violation of applicable UCMJ articles. The military always has jurisdiction over their members’ violation of UCMJ.
      Example, charged and guilty of DUI, payed fines, served time etc. through civilian courts can (and most likely will) be charged with violation of UCMJ and awarded NJP, with possible additional forfiture of pay, restriction, extra duty, reduction in rate and / or separation.

  • Sean

    What is the statute of limitations on Article 15. If a soldier received an article 15 can they be eliminated 5 years later under that same article 15 after displaying honorable service within that 5 year period? Can it be appealed?

    • Doug

      You are confusing two different ideas. The statute of limitations on being Court Martialed for most violations is five years. The statute of limitations on receiving an Art. 15 is two years (after which they could only be Court Martialed). However, using the prior conviction or Art. 15 in a separation action is a wholly different matter and there is no “statute of limitations”, only the provisions of the regulation. In general, separating someone for an Art. 15 that was imposed 5 years ago would be difficult but it would not be prohibited. The Soldier should request Defense Counsel (TDS).

  • Earle, Z.

    From subsection b) “…Restriction may be combined to run consecutively in the maximum amount impossible for each. Whenever any of those punishments are combined to run consecutively, there must be an apportionment.”

    I am interested if the word “Impossible” is a typo and what exactly the word “Apportionment” means within these Articles.

    Also, within subsection e) “The authority who is to act on the appeal shall refer the case to a judge advocate or a lawyer of the Department of Transportation.”

    Why does the department of transportation have authority within the UCMJ?!?

    • Doug

      Yes, that’s a typo, the word is “imposable” (see https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/815). An apportionment would be, say for example: 1 day on bread and water followed by 4 days of correctional custody – you have to adjust the maximums, so because you used 1/3 of the possible punishment of bread and water, you can only use 2/3 of the available 7 for correctional custody.

      The lawyers of the Department of Transportation clause is outdated (and has been changed, this version is not the current UCMJ provision – again see the link above). It now says Department of Homeland Security. The reference is due to the Coast Guard, which is subject to UCMJ but does not have “judge advocates” (the distinction between judge advocates and Coast Guard lawyers is technical and, for practical purposes, meaningless – unless you are one).

  • Robert

    I had a 15-day letter for seperation that was rescinded by the convenying authority in JUNE. Then in NOV i was served again from the next high command based on the case being abanded by the COC. Which it wasn’t. The 2nd letter served was dated and signed by the higher authority in AUG but not served to me until NOV did not include any information from the first letter or decision and now has been passed to a 3rd command who has been removed from command is now being passed to the 4th command.
    1st – BN CDR
    2nd – BDE CDR – transferred to BN CDR (removed from command) passed agin to new BN CDR.
    is there a time line for commander perogative.

  • Frank

    Can an enlisted person receive an Article 15 if he got married while on leave? Was he supposed to have his commanding officer’s approval?

  • Doug

    Not really but you need to talk to TDS not get defense advice from the comments here.

  • Jeremy

    Can My Company Commander reduce E-4 and below for repetitive APFT failures under 815.15 Commanding Officer’s non-judicial punishment?

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