The Orders Project
The Orders Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit rule of law initiative.
Military personnel are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, a federal statute that criminalizes the disobedience of lawful orders, among other offenses. If the Nation faces civil unrest requiring the deployment of military personnel or federalized National Guard personnel, questions may arise as to the legality of orders they receive. Given the authorized maximum punishments for disobeying orders, this is a serious matter. Military personnel should be fully informed of their rights and responsibilities before taking any action that might expose them to criminal prosecution or adverse personnel actions.
Military personnel have a right to consult counsel. They should first seek advice from a uniformed judge advocate in their branch and unit. That advice is free and will reflect the professional training provided by their Service branch. Because military personnel may be unable to timely connect with a judge advocate, they might seek consultation with a civilian attorney.
If you are a member of the military who would like to be referred to a qualified civilian attorney trained on these matters and experienced in military justice, you are invited to email The Orders Project:
All volunteer attorneys have agreed to provide advice pro bono, and the Project does not accept donations.