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Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Note: This law applies only to Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty offenses allegedly committed on or after 1 January 2019.

What is Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty?

Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty military defense lawyersArticle 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) covers failure to obey orders or regulations, and includes three types of offenses: (1) violating or failing to obey lawful general orders or regulations; (2) failing to obey other lawful orders; and (3) dereliction of duty.

Dereliction of duty occurs when a service member willfully or negligently fails to perform their duties or performs them culpably inefficiently. This offense undermines the discipline, efficiency, and effectiveness of the military, as it can lead to significant operational failures, security breaches, and personnel endangerment.

Importance of a Skilled Military Defense Lawyer:

A skilled military defense lawyer is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Experience in Military Law: Military defense lawyers have specialized knowledge of the UCMJ and military judicial procedures. They understand the complexities and nuances of military law, which is significantly different from civilian law.
  2. Navigating the Legal Process: A defense lawyer can guide the accused through the legal process, from the initial investigation to court-martial proceedings. They ensure that the service member’s rights are protected at every stage.
  3. Building a Strong Defense: Experienced military lawyers can identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, gather exculpatory evidence, and present a compelling defense. This may involve demonstrating that the accused’s actions did not constitute dereliction of duty or that mitigating circumstances exist.
  4. Negotiating Plea Deals: A defense lawyer may sometimes negotiate a plea deal that results in reduced charges or lighter sentencing. Their negotiation skills and understanding of the military justice system are vital in achieving the best possible outcome.
  5. Minimizing Career Impact: Convictions under Article 92 can have severe consequences, including confinement, reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay, and dishonorable discharge. A skilled lawyer can work to minimize these impacts, protecting the service member’s career and prospects.

In summary, dereliction of duty under Article 92 UCMJ is a serious offense with potentially severe consequences. A skilled military defense lawyer is essential in navigating the legal complexities, protecting the accused’s rights, and working towards a favorable outcome.

What are the Elements of Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty?

NOTE 1: Willful and negligent dereliction. Whether the accused is found guilty of willful or negligent dereliction of duty affects the maximum punishment. For the enhanced punishment of willful dereliction to apply, the government must allege and prove that the accused actually knew of the duty. US v. Ferguson, 40 MJ 823 (NMCMR 1994). The military judge must be mindful of this distinction in selecting the elements and definitions to give the court members.

(1) That the accused had (a) certain (duty) (duties), that is: (state the nature of the duties alleged);

[(2)] That the accused knew of the (duty) (duties); (and)

NOTE 2: Willful dereliction alleged. If a willful dereliction is alleged, give the following as element (2):

[(2)] That the accused knew of the (duty) (duties); (and)

NOTE 3: Neglect or culpable inefficiency. If a willful dereliction is not alleged, give the following as element (2):

[(2)] That the accused knew or reasonably should have known of the (duty) (duties); (and) (3) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused was (willfully) (through neglect or culpable inefficiency) derelict in the performance of (that duty) (those duties), by (state the manner alleged); [and]

NOTE 4: Death or grievous bodily harm alleged. If the dereliction of duty is alleged to have resulted in death or grievous bodily harm, give element (4), below:

(4) That such dereliction of duty resulted in [death to (state the name of the person alleged to have died)] [grievous bodily harm to (state the name of the person alleged to have been injured), to wit: (state the grievous bodily harm alleged)].

Article 92 UCMJ defines Dereliction of Duty into four categories, each with its own elements and punishments.

  • Article 92 UCMJ: Dereliction in performance of duties through neglect or culpable inefficiency
  • Article 92 UCMJ: Dereliction in performance of duties through neglect or culpable inefficiency resulting in death or grievous bodily harm
  • Article 92 UCMJ: Willful Dereliction in performance of duties
  • Article 92 UCMJ: Willful dereliction of duty resulting in death or grievous bodily harm

What are the Maximum Punishments for Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty?

  • Maximum Punishment for Article 92 UCMJ: Dereliction in performance of duties through neglect or culpable inefficiency
    • Committed from 1 Jan 2019 to 27 Dec 2023: 2/3 x 3 months, 3 months, E-1
    • Committed after 27 Dec 2023: Category 1 Offense – Confinement from 0-12 months
  • Maximum Punishment for Article 92 UCMJ: Dereliction in performance of duties through neglect or culpable inefficiency resulting in death or grievous bodily harm
    • Committed from 1 Jan 2019 to 27 Dec 2023: BCD, TF, 18 months, E-1
    • Committed after 27 Dec 2023: Category 2 Offense – Confinement from 1-36 months (1 month to 3 years), a DD, TF, and E-1
  • Maximum Punishment for Article 92 UCMJ: Willful Dereliction in performance of duties
    • Committed from 1 Jan 2019 to 27 Dec 2023: BCD, TF, 6 months, E-1
    • Committed after 27 Dec 2023: Category 1 Offense – Confinement from 0-12 months
  • Maximum Punishment for Article 92 UCMJ: Willful dereliction of duty resulting in death or grievous bodily harm
    • Committed from 1 Jan 2019 to 27 Dec 2023: DD, TF, 2 years, E-1
    • Committed after 27 Dec 2023: Category 2 Offense – Confinement from 1-36 months (1 month to 3 years), a DD, TF, and E-1

Combined UCMJ Maximum Punishment Charts

Sample Specifications for Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

In that SGT Amy Moore, US Army, who knew of her duties at Fort Irwin, California,  on or about 22 September 2025, was derelict in the performance of those duties in that she negligently failed to fasten concrete T-blast wall to the LMTV, as it was her duty to do, and that such dereliction of duty resulted in grievous bodily harm, to wit: a fractured skull of PFC Liz Morelle.

Model Specifications for Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

In that __________, (personal jurisdiction data), who (knew) (should have known) of (his) (her) duties (at/on board—location), (on or about __________) (from about __________ to about __________), was derelict in the performance of those duties in that (he) (she) (negligently) (willfully) (by culpable inefficiency) failed __________, as it was (his) (her) duty to do [, and that such dereliction of duty resulted in (grievous bodily harm, to wit: (broken leg) (deep cut) (fractured skull) (__________) to (________) (the death of (________)].

What are the Definitions for Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty?

Under Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty, a duty may be imposed by treaty, statute, regulation, lawful order, standard operating procedure, or service custom.

A person is “derelict” under Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty in the performance of duty when (he) (she) (willfully) ((or) (negligently)) fails to perform his/her duties (or when (he) (she) performs them in a culpably inefficient manner). “Dereliction” is defined as a failure in duty, a shortcoming, or delinquency.

“Willfully” under Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty means intentionally. It refers to doing an act knowingly and purposely, specifically intending its natural and probable consequences.

“Negligently” under Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty means an act or omission of a person under a duty to use due care which exhibits a lack of that degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances.

“Culpably inefficiency” under Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty is inefficiency for which there is no reasonable or excuse.

That an individual reasonably should have known of duties may be demonstrated by regulations, training or operating manuals, customs of the service, academic literature or testimony, testimony of persons who have held similar or superior positions, or similar evidence.)

Death or grievous bodily harm alleged under Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

The following definitions and instructions are appropriate if death or grievous bodily harm is alleged.

If the cause of death is an issue in an Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty case, the military judge should also refer to Instruction 5-19.

“Grievous bodily harm” under Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty means a bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

An intent to cause death or grievous bodily harm is not required under Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Suppose you are not convinced that the alleged dereliction of duty resulted in [death] [grievous bodily harm], but you are convinced that the other elements of the offense have been proven. In that case, you may find the accused guilty by excepting the language alleging that the dereliction of duty resulted in [death] [grievous bodily harm].

Willful dereliction alleged—exceptions and substitutions under Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Suppose a willful dereliction was alleged, and the military judge determines the members could find the accused guilty of a negligent dereliction. Instruction 7-15 and the definitions applicable to a negligent dereliction should be given in that case. A tailored Findings Worksheet is also appropriate.

Legal Reference for Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

  • Source of duty: violations of self-imposed duties, not an offense. US v. Dallmon, 34 MJ 274 (CMA 1992).
  • Noncommissioned officer’s failure to report the drug use of others as an offense. US v. Medley, 33 MJ 75 (CMA 1975).

Overview of Article Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty military defense lawyerArticle 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses the failure to obey orders or regulations. It encompasses three main offenses: violating or failing to obey lawful general orders or regulations, failing to obey other lawful orders, and dereliction of duty.

Hiring a Military Defense Lawyer for Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Dereliction of duty specifically refers to a service member’s willful or negligent failure to perform their duties or perform them culpably inefficiently. This offense can significantly undermine military discipline, operational effectiveness, and safety.

Dereliction of duty can involve various forms of misconduct, such as failing to follow standard procedures, neglecting essential tasks, or inadequately supervising subordinates. These failures can lead to operational disruptions, security breaches, and harm to personnel or equipment.

Selecting the Best Military Defense Lawyers for Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

The severity of the consequences highlights the importance of maintaining strict adherence to military standards and protocols. Penalties for dereliction of duty can be severe, including reduction in rank, forfeiture of pay, confinement, and dishonorable discharge, which can severely impact a service member’s career and future opportunities. Therefore, understanding and adhering to the responsibilities outlined under Article 92 is crucial for maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of military operations.

Examples of conduct that could constitute a violation of Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty:

  1. Failing to Follow Orders: Ignoring a direct order from a superior officer.
  2. Neglecting Maintenance Duties: Failing to perform required maintenance on equipment, leading to its malfunction.
  3. Sleeping on Duty: Falling asleep on guard duty or during an assigned watch.
  4. Improper Weapons Handling: Failing to secure a weapon properly, resulting in its loss or misuse.
  5. Ignoring Safety Protocols: Not following established safety procedures, leading to accidents or injuries.
  6. Failure to Report for Duty: Not showing up for an assigned shift without a valid reason.
  7. Improper Uniform Wear: Consistently wearing the uniform incorrectly despite being instructed on proper wear.
  8. Inadequate Training Supervision: Failing to supervise subordinates properly during training exercises.
  9. Neglecting Subordinate Welfare: Ignoring the needs and well-being of subordinates, leading to low morale.
  10. Unauthorized Absence: Leaving the duty station without permission.
  11. Failing to Complete Reports: Not completing required reports or documentation in a timely manner.
  12. Improper Handling of Classified Information: Failing to secure classified documents, leading to potential security breaches.
  13. Inadequate Equipment Inspection: Not performing required inspections on equipment, resulting in operational failures.
  14. Ignoring Maintenance Schedules: Skipping scheduled maintenance checks, leading to equipment breakdown.
  15. Neglecting Medical Duties: Failing to provide necessary medical care or follow medical protocols.
  16. Improper Use of Government Property: Using government property for personal gain or non-official purposes.
  17. Failure to Enforce Regulations: Not enforcing military regulations among subordinates.
  18. Improper Training: Providing insufficient or incorrect training to subordinates.
  19. Neglecting Barracks Inspections: Failing to conduct regular barracks inspections leads to substandard living conditions.
  20. Failing to Report Violations: Not reporting observed violations of military regulations or laws.
  21. Inadequate Security Measures: Neglecting to implement required security measures, leading to breaches.
  22. Improper Record Keeping: Failing to maintain accurate records as required by military regulations.
  23. Ignoring Health and Safety Standards: Not adhering to health and safety standards, putting personnel at risk.
  24. Failure to Supervise: Neglecting to supervise subordinates, leading to misconduct or poor performance.
  25. Neglecting Administrative Duties: Failing to perform required administrative tasks, causing delays or errors.
  26. Improper Handling of Funds: Mismanaging military funds or failing to account for expenditures.
  27. Inadequate Response to Emergencies: Failing to respond appropriately to emergencies.
  28. Neglecting Supply Management: Failing to manage supplies properly, leading to shortages or excesses.
  29. Improper Vehicle Maintenance: Neglecting the maintenance of military vehicles causes operational issues.
  30. Failure to Follow Legal Orders: Disobeying lawful orders from superiors.
  31. Ignoring Chain of Command: Bypassing the established chain of command without authorization.
  32. Neglecting Training Schedules: Failing to adhere to established training schedules, impacting readiness.
  33. Improper Disciplinary Actions: Failing to take appropriate disciplinary actions when necessary.
  34. Neglecting Environmental Regulations: Ignoring environmental regulations causes contamination or damage.
  35. Failure to Secure Facilities: Not securing facilities properly, leading to unauthorized access.
  36. Improperly Conducting Inspections: Performing inspections inadequately, leading to oversight of issues.
  37. Neglecting Communication Duties: Failing to relay important information promptly.
  38. Inadequate Response to Harassment: Not addressing reports of harassment or discrimination properly.
  39. Improper Handling of Personnel Files: Mishandling personnel files leads to privacy breaches.
  40. Ignoring Operational Protocols: Not following established operational protocols jeopardizing mission success.

Each of these examples involves a failure to perform duties as required, undermining military discipline, effectiveness, and readiness, thus violating Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty.

Sample cases involving Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty with U.S. military service members (names and details are fictitious):

Case 1: Fort Drum, New York Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Case Details: Sergeant Michael Johnson, stationed at Fort Drum, New York, failed to perform required maintenance on a piece of critical communication equipment, resulting in its malfunction during a training exercise. The malfunction led to a breakdown in communications, causing significant delays and confusion.

Repercussions and Career Impact:

Johnson faced a non-judicial punishment (NJP), received a reduction in rank to Specialist, and forfeited one month’s pay. He also received a formal reprimand in his permanent record. This incident severely impacted his chances for future promotions and his credibility as a responsible NCO.

Case 2: Camp Pendleton, California Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Case Details: Private First Class Amanda Lee, stationed at Camp Pendleton, repeatedly neglected her duty to secure her weapon while on guard duty properly. Her weapon was found unattended and unsecured on multiple occasions, posing a significant security risk.

Repercussions and Career Impact: Lee was court-martialed, resulting in a bad conduct discharge, confinement for three months, and forfeiture of pay. Her military career ended prematurely, and she faced difficulties finding civilian employment due to her discharge status and criminal record.

Case 3: Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Case Details: Technical Sergeant Robert Green, stationed at SpangdahlemAir Base, failed to follow safety protocols while maintaining an aircraft. His negligence led to an electrical fire, which caused extensive damage to the aircraft and endangered the safety of personnel.

Repercussions and Career Impact: Green was court-martialed and received a reduction in rank to Senior Airman, forfeiture of pay, and six months of confinement. His actions led to mandatory retraining for all maintenance personnel and heightened scrutiny of safety procedures. Due to the severity of his misconduct, his career prospects were significantly diminished.

Case 4: Naval Station Rota, Spain Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Case Details: Petty Officer Second Class David Martinez, stationed at Naval Station Rota, neglected to complete critical reports on time, leading to operational delays and miscommunication within his unit. His consistent failure to meet deadlines resulted in missed deployment schedules.

Repercussions and Career Impact: Martinez faced an NJP, received a reduction in rank to Petty Officer Third Class, and forfeited two months’ pay. He was also given extra duty for 45 days. The incident damaged his reputation and hindered his chances for future leadership positions.

Case 5: Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Case Details: Senior Airman Jessica Thompson, stationed at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, failed to adhere to medical protocols while administering vaccines, resulting in several service members receiving incorrect dosages. This oversight led to a temporary suspension of the vaccination program.

Repercussions and Career Impact: Thompson was court-martialed, resulting in a reduction in rank to Airman First Class, forfeiture of pay, and a formal reprimand. The incident prompted a review of medical procedures and additional training for medical staff. Thompson’s career was significantly impacted, with limited future advancement opportunities.

Case 6: Camp Arifjan, Kuwait Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Case Details: Staff Sergeant Brian Wilson, stationed at Camp Arifjan, repeatedly failed to secure classified documents, leaving them unattended in unsecured areas. This negligence posed a serious threat to operational security.

Repercussions and Career Impact: Wilson faced a court-martial, received a reduction in rank to Specialist, and was confined for six months. He also received a dishonorable discharge, ending his military career. His actions led to stricter enforcement of document security protocols and additional training for all personnel handling classified materials.

Case 7: Eglin Air Force Base, Florida Article 92 UCMJ Dereliction of Duty

Case Details: Captain Laura Adams, stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, failed to properly supervise a training exercise, resulting in several airmen sustaining injuries due to inadequate safety measures. Her lack of oversight led to a halt in training operations and a review of safety protocols.

Repercussions and Career Impact: Adams faced a non-judicial punishment, received a letter of reprimand, and was removed from her leadership position. She was reassigned to a desk job with limited responsibilities, severely impacting her career progression. The incident led to mandatory safety training and stricter supervision requirements for future exercises.

Each of these cases illustrates the serious consequences of dereliction of duty under Article 92 UCMJ, highlighting the potential for significant legal penalties, career setbacks, and broader impacts on military operations and safety.

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