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Can I recommend a Soldier for an Article 15 for jumping the chain of command?

I was informed by my senior NCOs that my Soldier can be punished under UCMJ for jumping chain of command/not properly using chain of command. Is this true? I have been researching and can not find specific information to support this.

Company Command: The Bottom Line - Army Leadership Guide

The only Article in the UCMJ that might cover this would be Article 134 (the so-called “General Article”). Realize that I do not know the details of the situation, but in my opinion, I do not believe this is an acceptable course of action.

While the Soldier should use the chain of command to solve problems at the lowest level possible, commanders and 1SGs typically have open door policies in place specifically to encourage Soldiers to come forward with issues.

Recommending an Article 15 because a Soldier went over your head seems extreme. It can be frustrating when this happens, but in my professional opinion it should not lead to punishment or retribution. Instead, try to learn why the Soldier went around you. By finding the root cause you can then attempt to solve the issue and develop a mutual trust so that the Soldier feels compelled to approach you first in the future.

While I can understand your frustration, there are other methods to get this Soldier’s attention such as corrective training. Have the Soldier give a class on how to use the chain of command or write an essay on why command structure is important. Correct and educate the Soldier on proper procedure.

If the best you have is jumping the chain of command, I would let it go. You run the risk of coming across as an emotionally immature leader who does not like it when Soldiers question your authority. I suggest you solve the problem with training and education rather than punishment. It is ultimately your call!

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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Company Command: The Bottom Line - Army Leadership Guide

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  • Current IG


    What is Chain of Command? AR 600-20 states: “The succession of COs (Commanding Officers) from a superior to a subordinate through which command is exercised. Only Commanders are in the chain of command. NCOs are you NCO Support Channel (AR 600-20, 2-19).

    Are you able to go to any commander? Yes. AR 20-1, forbids any retaliation. Moreover, the Dodi/ and the above mentioned AR expands the definition of Chain of Command.

    “2) Military whistleblower. Persons subject to this regulation will not take (or threaten to take) an unfavorable personnel action or withhold (or threaten to withhold) a favorable personnel action with respect to a member of the armed forces for making or preparing a (lawful) protected communication. Lawful communications are those communications made to an IG; MC; member of a DOD audit, inspection, or investigation organization; law enforcement organization; or any other person or organization (including any person or organization in the chain of command starting at the immediate supervisor level) designated under regulations or other established administrative procedures (such as the equal opportunity advisor or safety officer) to receive such communications. (See DODD 7050.06 for the definition of “chain of command”.

    HOWEVER, we encourage the use of our support channel and immediate supervisor, it is their job to fix their Soldiers problem. Let them do their job.

  • Greg


    I have a question, I am a former Sgt in the marine corps I understand and respect how to use the chain of command in the Marines, but now I am trying to make a lateral move into the California National Guard.

    My military history, I hold 3 MOS’s One of which is recruiting, 3 cir coms a PUC and Combat action + many other’s and a RE1A for re enlistment. after a got out I finished college with Bachelors of science in Electronic engineering. and I am currently working on my MBA I chose to go enlisted for Geo Graphic reasons,

    Problem 1#, I signed and swore in as a Sgt I was told after my swearing in, that I was to be reduced in rank to Cpl and before I was able to dispute my contract I realized my contract had been changed, When I addressed this problem I was told I was being promoted on the first of the month. and that they changed my information above signature. (fraudulently)and submitted to command

    Problem 2# My start Date has come and gone and as for as I know I am now UA. Every effort to contact my chain of command has failed, I have been told I will be called back, but no one from any where has return my request and the few people I have been able to talk too (E-7)s have threatened me not use my chain of command in the recruiting Command.

    To validate all this BS, I currently have a retired major who swore me and witnessed everything I am saying, I also have TXT messages that clearly prove my efforts to resolve this problem.

    It has now been almost a month, and I have not received orders nor information about who to report too our how to resolve this problem and I have resorted to sitting at my recruiters office who is also supposed to be my NCOIC.. So far he has told his Govy was broke into, his computers have stopped working, he is not able to submit my AGR request because of admin problems, his printer does not work, his scanner does not work, He has been on leave and that why he hasn’t answered his phone and to add to all of this the other recruiter in the office openly admits that he refuses to work because he is retiring in 5 months.

    My concerns are valid but I am looking for advise. What are the repercussions of me using the chain of command in the army. further more, it has been nearly a month of this behavior and I am very concerned about my career, I understand every buddy makes mistakes but at this point it is not only affecting me but also my family.

    Thanks to any NCO our Officer who is willing to give frank and time sensitive information on this subject.


  • Captain John-Paul Kilanski


    CSM Gerecht-

    I thank you for your quick response not even know the subject matter that was written you were able to assess the issue and confirm my original thoughts. Especially in noting the open door policy which is what I believe the member used as a method to have his issue heard even though some ego’s were bruised in the process. I will be sharing a link to this site as I find that it is a great resource and sounding board when one has a question they can’t answer or want additional advise on.


    Captain John-Paul Kilanski
    Squadron Commander

  • SSG Wills


    There isnt an article in the ucmj that u can use for this, not even article 134. You can call your bde legal and theyll tell your you the same thing.

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