Dereliction of duty

Dereliction of duty is a specific offense under United States Code Title 10, Section 892, Article 92 and applies to all branches of the US military. A service member who is derelict has willfully refused to perform his duties (or follow a given order) or has incapacitated himself in such a way that he cannot perform his duties. Such incapacitation includes the person falling asleep while on duty requiring wakefulness, his getting drunk or otherwise intoxicated and consequently being unable to perform his duties, shooting himself and thus being unable to perform any duty, or his vacating his post contrary to regulations. Article 92 also applies to service members whose acts or omissions rise to the level of criminally negligent behavior. The first such case charged occurred during World War II, when Army Air Force Lieutenants William Sincock and Theodore Balides were court-martialed for dereliction of duty when they mistakenly dropped bombs on Zürich, a city of Switzerland, which was a neutral country during that war. Both men were later acquitted.

In the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), dereliction of duty is addressed within the regulations governing the failure to obey an order or regulation.

§ 892. Art. 92. Failure to obey order or regulation

Any person subject to this chapter who— ... (3) is derelict in the performance of his duties; shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

Punishment can include sanctions up to and including the death penalty (in times of war). Outside of wartime, the maximum punishment allowed is a Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 1 year (10 years for service members receiving special pay under 37 USC 310).

In order to prosecute a service member under Article 92, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the service member knew (or should have reasonably known) his duties and that he was either, through neglect or culpable inefficiency (i.e., being inefficient without just cause), derelict in the performance of those duties.

This page was last edited on 18 January 2018, at 01:51 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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