Strict Behavior Standards for Military Personnel

Service member passed out drunk.

Military personnel are held to a stricter standard of allegiance. Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice prohibits military personnel from uttering statements or taking other actions with the intent to promote disloyalty or disaffection among troops, such as praising the enemy, attacking the war aims of the United States or otherwise denouncing the U.S. government. Article 134 applies to the public utterance of such statements, not the fact that the member privately holds controversial views.

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DoD Directive 1325.6, "Guidelines for Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces," prohibits the following types of activities. The actions commanders take is at their discretion, based on their perceptions of the impact of the prohibited conduct on their units.

  • Actual or intended distribution through unofficial channels of publications that pose a clear danger to the loyalty, discipline or morale of their units.
  • Visiting establishments that have been deemed off-limits because activities taking place there may include counseling members to refuse to perform duty or to desert; pose a significant adverse effect on service members' health, morale or welfare; or otherwise present a clear danger to the loyalty, discipline or morale of a member or military unit.
  • Publishing underground newspapers during duty hours or using U.S. government property or publishing publications off-duty that contain language punishable under federal law.
  • Demonstration or activity on the installation or facility that could result in interference with or prevention of orderly accomplishment of the mission of the installation or facility, or present a clear danger to loyalty, discipline, or morale of the troops.
  • Participation in off-post demonstrations when soldiers are on duty, in a foreign country, when their activities constitute a breach of law and order, when violence is likely to result or when they are in uniform in violation of DoD Directive 1334.1 (reference (d)).
  • Participation in organizations that espouse supremacist causes; attempt to create illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion or national origin; advocate the use of force or violence; or otherwise engage in efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights. Active participation, such as publicly demonstrating or rallying, fundraising, recruiting and training members, organizing or leading such organizations, or otherwise engaging in activities in relation to such organizations or in furtherance of the objectives of such organizations that are viewed by command to be detrimental to the good order, discipline or mission accomplishment of the unit, is incompatible with military service and is, therefore, prohibited.

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Example of Disqualifying Behavior

The subject is a 50-year-old computer technician recently hired by the Army and being processed for access to top-secret information.

Sixteen years ago, the subject was arrested for disorderly conduct. He and other members of the Patriotic Knights of America (PKA) were harassing voters with "Asian features" and attempting to prevent them from entering a voting location. (Note: The name of the organization has been changed for use in this example. PKA is not the name of any actual organization, so far as is known.) Seven years ago, he was again arrested for disorderly conduct. He and other PKA members were counterdemonstrating at a synagogue against a group protesting the Holocaust during World War II. They did not want what they thought were lies about the alleged Holocaust to be told in public, so they pushed and shoved several Jewish protesters out onto the street and attempted to prevent them from protesting.

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In a personal interview, the subject stated that he joined the PKA 20 years ago because he agreed with its goals, which are to protect the rights of true Americans. The subject defined true Americans as those descended from the people of western Europe and who believe in the Protestant faith. Other people believing in different religions or from different ethnic backgrounds are not true Americans and should not receive the rights granted by the U.S. Constitution, the subject said.

With respect to his prior arrests, the subject explained that any actions are proper if they promote the goal of protecting the interests of true Americans. He is still active in the PKA.

On his personnel security questionnaire, the subject answered no to the question about affiliation with any organization that advocates or approves use of force or violence to prevent other persons from exercising their rights under the Constitution. He explained that persons who are not true Americans have no rights under the Constitution.

Both of the subject's arrests were for misdemeanors, and the last arrest was seven years ago. However, access to classified information will generally be denied under these circumstances as there has been no remorse or rehabilitation. The subject continues as an active PKA member committed to preventing certain Americans from exercising their constitutional rights. He may well act on this belief again in the future.

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