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Chapter 3

Duties, Responsibilities, and Authority of the Soldier

Being an effective part of a team as a soldier means knowing your role and the rules for that team. This chapter explains the meaning of duty, responsibility, and authority and how these apply to every soldier in the Army. You'll find a quick reference to some of the rules soldiers live by in the sections on wear, appearance, and fit and standards of conduct. The discussion of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) explains some of the procedures in the use of military justice. This chapter provides brief overviews of these topics and for additional detailed information refer to the appropriate manuals.

Section I - Duties, Responsibilities, and Authority
The Chain Of Command and NCO Support Channel
Inspections and Corrections
Section II - Wear and Appearance
Personal Appearance Policies
Uniform Appearance and Fit
Section III - Uniform Code of Military Justice
Articles Of The Manual for Courts-Martial
Article 15
Administrative Tools
Law of Land Warfare
Section IV - Standards of Conduct
Relationships Between Soldiers of Different Rank
Extremist Organizations and Activities
Homosexual Conduct
Code of Conduct
Gifts and Donations
Lautenberg Amendment

For more information on duties, responsibilities and authority see AR 600-20, Army Command Policy, FM 6-0, Command and Control, FM 6-22 (22-100), Army Leadership, and FM 7-22.7, The Army Noncommissioned Officer Guide.

For more information on the wear and appearance of Army uniforms and insignia, see AR 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia.

For more information on the Uniform Code of Military Justice, see FM 1-04.14 (27-14). Legal Guide for Soldiers, AR 27-10, Military Justice, AR 27-3, The Army Legal Assistance Program, and the Manual for Courts-Martial.

For more information on the law of land warfare, see FM 1-04.10 (27-10), The Law of Land Warfare.

For more information on Army standards of conduct, see AR 600-20 and DOD 5500.7-R, Joint Ethics Regulation (JER).

For more information on the Code of Conduct, see AR 350- 30, Code of Conduct/ Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Training and DA Pam 360-512, Code of the US Fighting Force.


Every soldier has a specific job to do and makes a unique contribution to the Army. But always remember you are a soldier first.



3-1.     Every soldier has certain duties, responsibilities, and most have some level of authority. You should know what these are and how they apply to you. One of your obligations as a soldier is to carry out your duties to standard and the best of your ability. Bear your responsibilities knowing that you are part of a great team that only works well when each of its members do their best. If you are in a leadership position, exert authority to build the team and develop your soldiers. Your fellow soldiers are depending on you each and every day to make tough decisions based on your rank and duty position.

Serving my country is the best thing I can do with my life.

1SG Isaac Guest3-3


3-2.     Duties are general requirements to be performed. Duty begins with everything required of you by law, regulation, and orders; but it includes much more than that. A duty is a legal or moral obligation. For example, soldiers have a legal duty to obey the lawful orders of their leaders. Likewise, all officers and NCOs have a duty to "Take care of their soldiers."

3-3.     Professionals do their work not just to the minimum standard, but to the very best of their ability. Soldiers and Department of the Army civilians (DAC) commit to excellence in all aspects of their professional responsibility so that when the job is done they can look back and honestly say, "I have given my all each and every day." Duty also means being able to accomplish tasks as part of a team. You must fulfill your obligations as a part of your unit. That means, for example, voluntarily assuming your share of the workload, willingly serving as a member of a team, or assuming a leadership role when appropriate.

3-4.     Commissioned officers are direct representatives of the President. The President uses commissions as legal instruments to appoint and exercise direct control over qualified people who act as his legal agents and help him carry out duties. The Army retains this direct-agent relationship with the President through its commissioned officers. The commission serves as the basis for a commissioned officer's legal authority. Commissioned officers command, establish policy, and manage Army resources.

3-5.     Warrant officers are highly specialized, single-track specialty officers who receive their authority from the Secretary of the Army upon their initial appointment. However, Title 10 USC authorizes the commissioning of warrant officers (WO1) upon promotion to chief warrant officer (CW2). These commissioned warrant officers are direct representatives of the President of the United States. They derive their authority from the same source as commissioned officers, but remain specialists in their field. Warrant officers can and do command detachments, units, activities, and vessels as well as lead, coach, train and counsel subordinates. As leaders and technical experts, they provide valuable skills, guidance, and expertise to commanders and organizations in their particular field.

3-6.     Noncommissioned officers, the backbone of the Army, train, lead, and take care of enlisted soldiers. They also provide advice to officers in every aspect of unit operations. NCOs often represent officers and DAC leaders in their absence. They ensure their soldiers, along with their personal equipment, are prepared to function as effective unit and team members. While commissioned officers command, establish policy, and manage resources, NCOs conduct the Army's daily business.

3-7.     Junior enlisted soldiers are where the rubber meets the road. Junior enlisted soldiers perform their duties to standard AND to the best of their ability. This means perfroming individual tasks identified by first line supervisors based on the unit's mission essential task list (METL). All soldiers must be able to do those individual tasks to standard because that is where every successful operation begins-at the individual task level. Junior enlisted soldiers can seek help from first-line supervisors for problems they are unable to solve. Like every soldier in the Army, junior enlisted soldiers have a duty to obey the lawful orders of superiors. Even junior enlisted soldiers can make on-the-spot corrections-they shouldn't walk by a deficiency without tactfully correcting the problem. That's professionalism.

3-8.     Department of the Army civilians are members of the executive branch of the federal government and are a vital part of the Army. DACs fill positions in staff and base sustaining operations that might otherwise have to be filled by officers and NCOs. Senior DACs establish policy and manage Army resources, but they do not have the authority to command. The complementary relationship and mutual respect between the military and civilian members of the Army is a long-standing tradition. Since the Army's beginning in 1775, military and civilian roles have stayed separate, yet necessarily related. Taken in combination, traditions, functions, and laws also help clarify duties of military and civilian members of the Army.


3-9.     Specified duties are those related to jobs and positions. Directives such as Army regulations, Department of the Army (DA) general orders, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), soldier's manuals, Army Training and Evaluation Program (ARTEP) or Mission Training Plan (MTP) publications, and Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) job descriptions specify the duties. They spell out what soldiers must do and the standards they must meet.


3-10.     Directed duties are not specified as part of a job position or MOS or other directive. A superior gives them orally or in writing. Directed duties include being in charge of quarters (CQ) or serving as sergeant of the guard, staff duty officer, company training NCO, and nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) NCO where these duties are not found in the unit's organizational charts.


3-11.     Implied duties often support specified duties, but in some cases they may not be related to the military occupational specialty (MOS) job position. These duties may not be written but implied in the instructions. They're duties that improve the quality of the job and help keep the unit functioning at an optimum level. In most cases, these duties depend on individual initiative. They improve the work environment and motivate soldiers to perform because they want to, not because they have to.


3-12.     Responsibility is the legally established and moral obligation a soldier assumes for his own actions, accomplishments and failures. Leaders also assume responsibility for the actions, accomplishments, and failures of their units and decisions. Above all, the leader is responsible for accomplishing his assigned missions. Then, he is responsible for his soldiers' health, welfare, morale, and discipline. The leader is responsible for maintaining and employing the resources of his force. In most cases, these responsibilities do not conflict. But sometimes they do. For example, SPC Hull has requested a three day pass, Friday through Sunday, because an old friend is visiting for the weekend. But Friday the company is going to the range to qualify on individual weapons. There is no other range time scheduled for the next three months. If such a conflict cannot be resolved, accomplishing the mission must come first. In the example, SPC Hull's commander disapproves the pass.

3-13.     Related to responsibility is accountability. This is the requirement to answer to superiors (and ultimately the American people) for mission accomplishment, for the lives and care of assigned soldiers, and for effectively and efficiently using Army resources. It also includes an obligation to answer for properly using delegated authority. Leaders are accountable for what they do or fail to do. For example, SSG Calhoun must explain to the platoon leader and platoon sergeant why three tires on one of her squad's vehicles are not inflated to the air pressure specified in the technical manual. Soldiers account for their actions to their fellow soldiers or organization, their leaders, the Army and the American people.

3-14.     Officers, NCOs, and DACs lead other officers, NCOs, junior enlisted soldiers, and DACs and help them carry out their responsibilities. Commanders set overall policies and standards, but all leaders guide, assist, and supervise subordinates, who assist and advise their leaders. Mission accomplishment demands that officers, NCOs and DACs work together to advise, assist and learn from each other.

Responsibility is a unique concept. It can only reside and inhere in a single individual. You may share it with others, but your portion is not diminished. Even if you do not recognize it or admit its presence, you cannot escape it. If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion, or ignorance, or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else.

Admiral Hyman G. Rickover3-6


3-15.     Every soldier is responsible for performing his duty to the very best of his ability-and for trying to improve his performance. You are also responsible for your personal conduct and appearance. You and every other soldier in the Army assumed this personal responsibility when you took your enlistment oath or oath as an officer. For example, every soldier is responsible for his own physical fitness. Commanders set aside time on the training schedule for physical training (PT), designate soldiers to lead PT and even ensure all soldiers complete unit runs. But only you can make yourself physically fit.

3-16.     Every soldier is responsible for treating other people with dignity and respect. You may not engage in nor tolerate sexual, racial or other types of discrimination or harassment. Such behavior is morally wrong in both modern society and our Army of values. In addition, it rapidly destroys unit cohesion and team integrity. That could result in lives unnecessarily lost in combat or failure to accomplish assigned missions. Neither of these possible results is acceptable. .

3-17.     Soldiers also have unique responsibilities based on rank, duty position and even geographical location. This manual won't go into all those unique jobs soldiers of different MOSs have. The next few paragraphs describe some of the more general responsibilities of all soldiers. Just remember this-regardless of rank or MOS or specialty-you are a soldier first.

3-18.     The general roles and responsibilities of the commissioned officer are as follows:

  • Commands, establishes policy, and manages Army resources.
  • Integrates collective, leader, and soldier training to accomplish mission.
  • Deals primarily with units and unit operations.
  • Concentrates on unit effectiveness and readiness.

3-19.     The general roles and responsibilities of the warrant officer are as follows:

  • Provides quality advice, counsels and solutions to support the command.
  • Executes policy and manages the Army's system.
  • Commands special-purpose units and task-organized operational elements.
  • Focuses on collective, leader, and individual training.
  • Operates, maintains, administers, and manages the Army's equipment, support activities, and technical systems.
  • Concentrates on unit effectiveness and readiness.

3-20.     The general roles and responsibilities of the noncommissioned officer are as follows:

  • Trains soldiers and conducts the daily business of the Army within established policy.
  • Focuses on individual soldier and small unit collective training.
  • Deals primarily with individual soldier training and team leading.
  • Ensures that subordinate teams, NCOs, and soldiers are prepared to function as effective unit and team members.

3-21.     The general roles and responsibilities of the junior enlisted soldier are as follows:

  • Obeys the lawful orders of NCOs and officers.
  • Completes each task to the very best degree possible and not just to standard.
  • Maintains a military appearance.
  • Maintains individual physical fitness standards and readiness.
  • Maintains individual equipment and clothing to standard.

3-22.     As members of the executive branch of the federal government, Department of the Army civilians (DAC) are part of the Army team. The DAC provides unique skills that are essential to victory. The general roles and responsibilities of the DAC are as follows:

  • Fills positions in staff and base sustaining operations that otherwise would have to be filled by soldiers.
  • Provides specialized skills that are difficult to maintain in uniformed components.
  • Provides continuity in organizations where soldiers are not available or regularly rotate.
  • Applies technical, conceptual, and interpersonal skills to operate, maintain, and administer Army equipment and support, research, and technical activities-in a combat theater, if necessary.
  • In addition, the DAC leader also-
    • Establishes and executes policy, leads other DACs, and manages programs, projects, and Army systems.
    • Concentrates on DAC individual and organizational effectiveness and readiness.


3-23.     Authority is the legitimate power of leaders to direct subordinates or to take action within the scope of their position. Military authority begins with the Constitution, which divides it between Congress and the President. Congress has the authority to make laws that govern the Army. The President, as Commander in Chief, commands the Armed Forces, including the Army. Two types of military authority exist: command and general military.


3-24.     Command authority originates with the President and may be supplemented by law or regulation. It is the authority that a leader exercises over subordinates by virtue of rank and assignment to a position of leadership. Command authority is exercised when a member of the Army is assigned to or assumes a position requiring the direction and control of other members of the Army.

3-25.     Command authority is not necessarily limited to commissioned (including warrant) officers. Any soldier assigned to a leadership position has the authority inherent in the position to issue orders necessary to accomplish his mission or for the welfare of his soldiers, unless contrary to law or regulation. A tank commander, squad leader, section or platoon sergeant uses this authority to direct and control his soldiers. In these cases, the authority the leader exercises is restricted to the soldiers and facilities that make up that leader's unit.

A colonel does not just command 3,000 men, a battalion commander 1,000, and a captain 250. A colonel commands three battalions, a battalion commander four companies, a captain four platoons, and a platoon leader four squads. Let us not forget that.

Instruct your subordinates directly; do not command their people. Above all, do not do their jobs, or you will not do yours.

Colonel Louis de Maud'Huy3-8

3-26.     Don't confuse command authority with "Command." Except in emergency situations, only commissioned and warrant officers may command Army units and installations. Army regulations define "Command" as a military organization or prescribed territory that is recognized as a command under official directives. DA civilians may exercise general supervision over an Army installation or activity, but they act under the authority of a military supervisor; they do not command.


3-27.     General military authority originates in oaths of office and enlistment, law, rank structure, traditions, and regulations. This broad-based authority allows leaders to take appropriate corrective actions whenever a member of any armed service, anywhere, commits an act involving a breach of good order or discipline. Army Regulation 600-20, Army Command Policy, states this specifically, giving commissioned, warrant, and noncommissioned officers authority to "quell all quarrels, frays, and disorders among persons subject to military law." The purpose of this authority is to maintain good order and discipline.

3-28.     For NCOs, another source of general military authority stems from the combination of the chain of command and the NCO support channel. The chain of command passes orders and policies through the NCO support channel to provide authority for NCOs to do their job.


3-29.     Just as Congress and the President cannot personally direct every aspect of Armed Forces operations, commanders at all levels cannot directly handle every action. To meet the organization's goals, these officers must delegate authority to subordinate commissioned and noncommissioned officers and, when appropriate, to DACs. These subordinate leaders, in turn, may further delegate that authority.

3-30.     Unless restricted by law, regulation, or a superior, leaders may delegate any or all of their authority to their subordinate leaders. However, such delegation must fall within the leader's scope of authority. Leaders cannot delegate authority they do not have and subordinate leaders may not assume authority that their superiors do not have, cannot delegate, or have retained. The task or duty to be performed limits the authority of the leader to whom it is assigned.

3-31.     When a leader assigns a subordinate a task, he delegates the requisite authority to accomplish the task as well. The subordinate accepts both the responsibility for accomplishing the task and the authority necessary to make it happen. The leader, however, always retains overall responsibility for the task's outcome, being ready to answer for all actions or omissions related to the outcome.

3-32.     For example, let's say the first sergeant told the 1st platoon sergeant to have a detail police an area outside the orderly room, and the platoon sergeant further assigns the task to SPC Green and two PFCs. The platoon sergeant delegates to SPC Green the authority to direct the two PFCs. In this way, SPC Green has the authority to complete the task and is accountable to the platoon sergeant for accomplishing it to standard.


3-33.     Communication among soldiers, teams, units, and organizations is essential to efficient and effective mission accomplishment. Two-way communication is more effective than one-way communication. Mission accomplishment depends on information passing accurately to and from subordinates and leaders, up and down the chain of command and NCO support channel, and laterally among adjacent organizations or activities. In garrison operations, organizations working on the same mission or project should be considered "adjacent."


3-34.     The Army has only one chain of command. Through this chain of command, leaders issue orders and instructions and convey policies. An effective chain of command is a two-way communication channel. Its members do more than transmit orders; they carry information from within the unit or organization back up to its leader. They furnish information about how things are developing, notify the leader of problems, and provide request for clarification and help. Leaders at all levels use the chain of command-their subordinate leaders-to keep their people informed and render assistance. They continually facilitate the process of gaining the necessary clarification and solving problems.

3-35.     Beyond conducting their normal duties, NCOs train soldiers and advises commanders on individual soldier readiness and the training needed to ensure unit readiness. Officers and DAC leaders should consult their command sergeant major, first sergeant, or NCOIC, before implementing policy. Leaders must continually communicate to avoid duplicating instructions or issuing conflicting orders. Continuous and open lines of communication enable leaders to freely plan, make decisions, and program future training and operations.


3-36.     The NCO support channel parallels and reinforces the chain of command. NCO leaders work with and support the commissioned and warrant officers of their chain of command. For the chain of command to work efficiently, the NCO support channel must operate effectively. At battalion level and higher, the NCO support channel begins with the command sergeant major, extends through first sergeants, platoon sergeants and ends with section chiefs, squad leaders or team leaders.

The NCO support channel.is used for exchanging information; providing reports; issuing instructions, which are directive in nature; accomplishing routine but important activities in accordance with command policies and directives. Most often, it is used to execute established policies, procedures, and standards involving the performance, training, appearance, and conduct of enlisted personnel. Its power rests with the chain of command.

FM 22-600-20, The Duties, Responsibilities, and Authority of NCOs, 1977

3-37.     The connection between the chain of command and the NCO support channel is the senior NCO. Commanders issue orders through the chain of command, but senior NCOs must know and understand the orders to issue effective implementing instructions through the NCO support channel. Although the first sergeant and command sergeant major are not part of the formal chain of command, leaders should consult them on all enlisted soldier matters and individual training.

3-38.     Successful leaders have good relationships with their senior NCOs. Successful commanders have a good leader-NCO relationship with their first sergeants and command sergeant major. The need for such a relationship applies to platoon leaders and platoon sergeants as well as to staff officers and NCOs. Senior NCOs have extensive experience in successfully completing missions and dealing with enlisted soldier issues. Also, senior NCOs can monitor organizational activities at all levels, take corrective action to keep the organization within the boundaries of the commander's intent, or report situations that require the attention of the officer leadership. A positive relationship between officers and NCOs creates conditions for success.

3-39.     The NCO support channel assists the chain of command in accomplishing the following:

  • Transmitting, instilling and ensuring the efficacy of the Army ethic.
  • Planning and conducting the day-to-day unit operations within prescribed policies and directives.
  • Training enlisted soldiers in their MOS as well as in the basic skills and attributes of a soldier.
  • Supervising unit physical fitness training and ensuring that soldiers comply with the height/weight and appearance standards in AR 600-9, The Army Weight Control Program, and AR 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia.
  • Teaching soldiers the history of the Army, to include military customs, courtesies, and traditions.
  • Caring for individual soldiers and their families both on and off duty.
  • Teaching soldiers the mission of the unit and developing individual training programs to support the mission.
  • Accounting for and maintaining individual arms and equipment of enlisted soldiers and unit equipment under their control.
  • Administrating and monitoring the NCO professional development program and other unit training programs.
  • Achieving and maintaining Army values.
  • Advising the commander on rewards and punishment for enlisted soldiers.

3-40.     Soldiers should use the chain of command or the NCO support channel (as appropriate) to help solve problems, whether small or large. The chain of command and the NCO support channel are also effective and efficient means of communication from where the rubber meets the road to the very highest echelons of the Army. Whether you have a problem, suggestion, complaint or commendation the chain and the channel are the means to communicate to the leaders who need to know.


3-41.     Why do we have inspections? From long experience, the Army has found that some soldiers, if allowed to, will become careless and lax in the performance of minor barracks, office, and work area maintenance. They become accustomed to conditions in their immediate surroundings and overlook minor deficiencies. Should a soldier fall below the Army standard of performance someone will notice those deficiencies immediately. All soldiers have the responsibility to uphold the Army standard.

3-42.     Your supervisors will order inspections to see that soldiers have all the equipment and clothing issued to them and that it is serviceable. Inspections serve this practical purpose; they are not harassment. You will probably agree that inspections often correct small problems before they become big problems. Sharp appearance, efficient performance, and excellent maintenance are important considerations that affect you directly. They are the visible signs of a good organization in which any soldier would be a proud member. First-line leaders should inspect their soldiers daily and should regularly check soldiers' rooms, common areas, offices and work areas of their soldiers. First-line leaders should also make arrangements with soldiers who live in quarters (on or off post) to ensure the soldier maintains a healthy and safe environment for himself and his family.


3-43.     There are two categories of inspections for determining the status of individual soldiers and their equipment: in-ranks and in-quarters. An in-ranks inspection is of personnel and equipment in a unit formation. The leader examines each soldier individually, noticing their general appearance and the condition of their clothing and equipment. When inspecting crew-served weapons and vehicles, the soldiers are normally positioned to the rear of the formation with the operators standing by their vehicle or weapon. Leaders may conduct an in-quarters (barracks) inspection to include personal appearance, individual weapons, field equipment, displays, maintenance, and sanitary conditions. Organizations will have inspection programs that will help determine the status and mission readiness of the unit and its components. These include command inspections, staff inspections, and Inspector General inspections.

On-the-Spot Corrections

3-44.     One of the most effective administrative corrective measures is the on-the-spot correction. Use this tool for making the quickest and often most effective corrections to deficiencies in training or standards. Generally, a soldier requires an on-the-spot correction for one of two reasons. Either the soldier you are correcting does not know what the standard is or does not care what the standard is. If the soldier was aware of the standard but chose not to adhere to it, this may indicate a larger problem that his chain of command should address. In such a situation you might follow up an on-the-spot correction with a call to the soldier's first sergeant or commander. Figure 3-1 shows the steps in properly making an on-the-spot correction.

  • Correct the soldier.
  • Attack the performance, never the person.
  • Give one correction at a time. Do not dump.
  • Don't keep bringing it up. When the correction is over, it is over.

Figure 3-1. On-the-Spot Correction Steps

3-45.     Keeping a soldier on track is the key element in solving performance problems. Motivated soldiers keep the group functioning and training productive. Ultimately soldiers accomplish the training objectives, and most importantly, the mission. Some leaders believe that soldiers work as expected simply because that is their job. That may be true, but soldiers and leaders also need a simple pat-on-the-back once in a while, for a job well done. Good leaders praise their soldiers and care about the job they are doing. Soldiers not performing to standard need correction.

Making an On-the-Spot Correction

PFC Bucher returned to the battery area after PT and got out of his car to go to formation. He noticed CPL Mays had arrived and waited for him to walk up to the unit together. CPL Mays locked his car and said hello to PFC Bucher but still hadn't put his beret on. PFC Bucher was unsure what to do but knew that he wasn't supposed to walk by a deficiency.

PFC Bucher said, "Good morning, CPL Mays." He looked around to ensure no one could hear him and went on, "You really should put your headgear on, Corporal. An impressionable young troop like me might get the wrong idea and think it's okay to walk around without cover."

CPL Mays wasn't amused but took the hint. "Thanks, Bucher, I forgot," he said, pulling his beret out of his cargo pocket. "And thanks for not making a big deal out of it. Let's go to formation before we're late."3-13

3-46.     Often the on-the-spot correction is the best tool to get soldiers back on track. But even after making an on-the-spot correction, additional training may be necessary. Figure 3-2 shows the guidelines in using corrective training.

  • The training, instruction or correction given to a soldier to correct deficiencies must be directly related to the deficiency.
  • Orient the corrective action to improving the soldier's performance in their problem area.
  • You may take corrective measures after normal duty hours. Such measures assume the nature of the training or instruction, not punishment.
  • Corrective training should continue only until the training deficiency is overcome.
  • All levels of command should take care to ensure that training and instruction are not used in an oppressive manner to evade the procedural safeguards in imposing nonjudical punishment.
  • Do not make notes in soldiers' official records of deficiencies satisfactorily corrected by means of training and instruction.

Figure 3-2. Corrective Training Guidelines

3-47.     More often than not, soldiers do good things that deserve some recognition. In the same way as on-the-spot corrections (but obviously for different reasons), leaders praise soldiers' good work by telling them the specific action or result observed and why it was good. This will tend to encourage soldiers to continue doing those good things and motivate other soldiers to reach that standard, too.

3-48.     Making an informal, unscheduled check of equipment, soldiers, or quarters is called an on-the-spot inspection. Stopping to check the tag on a fire extinguisher as you walk through a maintenance bay is an example of an on-the-spot inspection. Another example is checking the condition of the trash dumpster area in back of the orderly room. For any inspection, the steps are the same: preparation, conduct, and follow-up.


3-49.     Pre-combat checks (PCCs), Pre-combat inspections (PCIs) and Pre-execution checks are key to ensuring leaders, trainers, and soldiers are adequately prepared to execute operations and training to Army standard. PCC/PCIs are the bridge between pre-execution checks and execution of training. They are also detailed final checks that all units conduct before and during execution of training and combat operations. Conduct PCC/PCIs at the beginning of each event or exercise as part of troop leading procedures to check soldiers, equipment, vehicles, and mission knowledge.

3-50.     The chain of command is responsible for developing, validating, and verifying all PCC/PCIs. Pre-execution checks ensure that all planning and prerequisite training (soldier, leader, and collective) are complete prior to the execution of training. They systematically prepare soldiers, trainers, and resources to ensure training execution starts properly. Pre-execution checks provide the attention to detail needed to use resources efficiently.

In no other profession are the penalties for employing untrained personnel so appalling or so irrevocable as in the military.

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur3-15


3-51.     This section provides an overview of Army Regulation 670-1, Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia. It is a quick reference to personal appearance policies and uniform appearance and fit. For details refer to the regulation.


3-52.     In the Army discipline is judged, in part, by the manner in which a soldier wears the uniform, as well as by the soldier's personal appearance. Therefore, a neat and well-groomed appearance by all soldiers is fundamental to the Army and contributes to building the pride and esprit essential to an effective military force. A part of the Army's strength and military effectiveness is the pride and self-discipline that American soldiers display in their appearance.

3-53.     Commanders ensure that military personnel under their command present a neat and soldierly appearance. In the absence of specific procedures or guidelines, commanders must determine a soldier's appearance complies with standards in AR 670-1. Soldiers must take pride in their appearance at all times, in or out of uniform, on and off duty. Pride in appearance includes soldiers' physical fitness and adherence to acceptable weight standards in accordance with AR 600-9, The Army Weight Control Program.


3-54.     Soldiers may wear religious apparel, articles, or jewelry subject to some limitations based on mission or other requirements. The term "religious apparel" applies to articles of clothing worn as part of the observance of the religious faith practiced by the soldier. These religious articles include, but are not limited to, medallions, small booklets, pictures, or copies of religious symbols or writing carried by the individual in wallets or pockets. See AR 600-20, Army Command Policy, paragraph 5-6g for more information on accommodating religious practices.

3-55.     Soldiers may wear religious apparel, articles, or jewelry with the uniform, to include the physical fitness uniform, if they are neat, conservative, and discreet. "Neat, conservative, and discreet" means it meets the uniform criteria of AR 670-1. In other words, when religious jewelry is worn, the uniform must meet the same standards of wear as if the religious jewelry were not worn. For example, a religious item worn on a chain may not be visible when worn with the utility, service, dress or mess uniforms. When worn with the physical fitness uniform, the item should be no more visible than identification (ID) tags would be in the same uniform. The width of chains worn with religious items should be approximately the same size as the width of the ID tag chain.

3-56.     Soldiers may not wear these items when doing so would interfere with the performance of their duties or cause a safety problem. Soldiers may not be prohibited, however, from wearing religious apparel, articles or jewelry meeting the criteria of AR 670-1 simply because they are religious in nature if wear is permitted of similar items of a nonreligious nature. A specific example would be wearing a ring with a religious symbol. If the ring meets the uniform standards for jewelry and is not worn in a work area where rings are prohibited because of safety concerns, then wear is allowed and may not be prohibited simply because the ring bears a religious symbol.

3-57.     During a worship service, rite, or ritual, soldiers may wear visible or apparent religious articles, symbols, jewelry, and apparel that do not meet normal uniform standards. Commanders, however, may place reasonable limits on the wear of non-subdued items of religious apparel during worship services, rites, or rituals conducted in the field for operational or safety reasons. When soldiers in uniform wear visible religious articles on such occasions, they must ensure that these articles are not permanently affixed or appended to any prescribed article of the uniform.

3-58.     Chaplains may wear religious attire as described in AR 670-1, CTA 50-909, Field and Garrison Furnishings and Equipment, and AR 165-1, Chaplain Activities in the United States Army, in the performance of religious services and other official duties, as required. Commanders may not prohibit chaplains from wearing religious symbols that are part of the chaplain's duty uniform.

3-59.     Soldiers may wear religious headgear while in uniform if the headgear meets the following criteria:

  • It must be subdued in color (black, brown, green, dark or navy blue, or a combination of these colors).
  • It must be of a style and size that can be completely covered by standard military headgear and it cannot interfere with the proper wear or functioning of protective clothing or equipment.
  • The headgear cannot bear any writing, symbols or pictures.
  • Soldiers will not wear religious headgear in place of military headgear when military headgear is required (outdoors or indoors when required for duties or ceremonies).


3-60.     Army Regulation 670-1 governs hair and grooming practices or accommodations based on religious practices. Exceptions based on religious practices that were given to soldiers in accordance with AR 600-20 on or prior to 1 January 1986 remain in effect as long as the soldier remains otherwise qualified for retention.

3-61.     The requirement for hair grooming standards is necessary to maintain uniformity within a military population. Many hairstyles are acceptable, as long as they are neat and conservative. It is not possible to address every acceptable hairstyle, or what constitutes eccentric or conservative grooming. It is the responsibility of leaders at all levels to exercise good judgment in the enforcement of Army policy. All soldiers will comply with the hair, fingernail, and grooming policies while in any military uniform or while in civilian clothes on duty.

3-62.     Leaders judge the appropriateness of a particular hairstyle by the appearance of headgear when worn. Soldiers will wear headgear as described in the applicable chapters of AR 670-1. Headgear will fit snugly and comfortably, without distorted or excessive gaps. Soldiers may not wear hairstyles that do not allow proper wear of headgear, or that interfere with the proper wear of the protective mask or other protective equipment.

3-63.     Extreme, eccentric, or trendy haircuts or hairstyles are not authorized. If soldiers use dyes, tints, or bleaches, they must choose those that result in natural hair colors. Colors that detract from a professional military appearance are prohibited. Soldiers should avoid using colors that result in an extreme appearance. Applied hair colors that are prohibited include, but are not limited to purple, blue, pink, green, orange, bright (fire-engine) red, and fluorescent or neon colors. It is the responsibility of leaders to use good judgment in determining if applied colors are acceptable, based upon the overall effect on the soldier's appearance.

3-64.     Soldiers who have a texture of hair that does not part naturally may cut a part into the hair. The part will be one straight line, not slanted or curved, and will fall in the area where the soldier would normally part the hair. Soldiers will not cut designs into their hair or scalp.

3-65.     Soldiers may not wear hairnets unless they are required for health, safety, or duty performance (such as a cook). No other type of hair covering is authorized in lieu of the hairnet. The commander will provide the hairnet to the soldier at no cost.

Male Hair Standards

3-66.     Male haircuts will conform to certain standards. The hair on top of the head must be neatly groomed. The length and bulk of the hair may not be excessive or present a ragged, unkempt, or extreme appearance. The hair must present a tapered appearance. A tapered appearance is one where the outline of the soldier's hair conforms to the shape of the head, curving inward to the natural termination point at the base of the neck. The hair will not fall over the ears or eyebrows, or touch the collar, except for the closely cut hair at the back of the neck. The block-cut fullness in the back is permitted to a moderate degree, as long as the tapered look is maintained.

3-67.     In all cases, the bulk or length of hair may not interfere with the normal wear of headgear, protective masks, or equipment. Males are not authorized to wear braids, cornrows, or dreadlocks (unkempt, twisted, matted, individual parts of hair) while in uniform or in civilian clothes on duty. Hair that is clipped closely or shaved to the scalp is authorized.

3-68.     Males will keep sideburns neatly trimmed. Sideburns may not be flared; the base of the sideburn will be a clean-shaven, horizontal line. Sideburns will not extend below the lowest part of the exterior ear opening.

3-69.     Males will keep their face clean-shaven when in uniform or in civilian clothes on duty. Mustaches are permitted. If mustaches are worn, they will be neatly trimmed, tapered, and tidy. Mustaches will not present a chopped off or bushy appearance, and no portion of the mustache will cover the upper lip line or extend sideways beyond a vertical line drawn upward from the corners of the mouth. Handlebar mustaches, goatees, and beards are not authorized. If appropriate medical authority prescribes beard growth, the length required for treatment must be specified. For example, "The length of the beard will not exceed inch." Soldiers will keep the growth trimmed to the level specified by appropriate medical authority, but they are not authorized to shape the growth into goatees, or "Fu Manchu" or handlebar mustaches.

3-70.     Males are prohibited from wearing wigs or hairpieces while in uniform or in civilian clothes on duty, except to cover natural baldness or physical disfiguration caused by accident or medical procedure. When worn, wigs or hairpieces will conform to the standard haircut criteria.

Female Hair Standards

3-71.     Female soldiers will ensure their hair is neatly groomed, that the length and bulk of the hair are not excessive, and that the hair does not present a ragged, unkempt, or extreme appearance. Likewise, trendy styles that result in shaved portions of the scalp (other than the neckline) or designs cut into the hair are prohibited. Females may wear braids and cornrows as long as the braided style is conservative, the braids and cornrows lie snugly on the head, and any holding devices comply with the standards. Dreadlocks (unkempt, twisted, matted individual parts of hair) are prohibited in uniform or in civilian clothes on duty. Hair will not fall over the eyebrows or extend below the bottom edge of the collar at any time during normal activity or when standing in formation. Long hair that falls naturally below the bottom edge of the collar, to include braids, will be neatly and inconspicuously fastened or pinned, so no free-hanging hair is visible. This includes styles worn with the improved physical fitness uniform (IPFU).

3-72.     Styles that are lopsided or distinctly unbalanced are prohibited. Ponytails, pigtails, or braids that are not secured to the head (allowing hair to hang freely), widely spaced individual hanging locks, and other extreme styles that protrude from the head are prohibited. Extensions, weaves, wigs, and hairpieces are authorized only if these additions have the same general appearance as the individual's natural hair. Additionally, any wigs, extensions, hairpieces, or weaves must comply with grooming policies.

3-73.     Females will ensure that hairstyles do not interfere with proper wear of military headgear, protective masks, or equipment at any time. When headgear is worn, the hair will not extend below the bottom edge of the front of the headgear or below the bottom edge of the collar.

3-74.     Hair-holding devices may be used only for securing the hair. Soldiers will not place hair-holding devices in the hair for decorative purposes. All hair-holding devices must be plain and of a color as close to the soldier's hair as is possible or clear. Authorized devices include, but are not limited to, small, plain scrunchies (elastic hair bands covered with material), barrettes, combs, pins, clips, rubber bands, and hair bands. Devices that are conspicuous, excessive or decorative are prohibited. Some examples of prohibited devices include, but are not limited to, large, lacy scrunchies; beads, bows, or claw clips; clips, pins, or barrettes with butterflies, flowers, sparkles, gems, or scalloped edges; and bows made from hairpieces.


3-75.     As with hairstyles, the requirement for standards regarding cosmetics is necessary to maintain uniformity and to avoid an extreme or unmilitary appearance. Males are prohibited from wearing cosmetics, to include nail polish. Females are authorized to wear cosmetics with all uniforms, provided they are applied conservatively and in good taste and complement the uniform. Leaders at all levels must exercise good judgment in the enforcement of this policy.

3-76.     Females may wear cosmetics if they are conservative and complement the uniform and their complexion. Eccentric, exaggerated, or trendy cosmetic styles and colors, to include makeup covering tattoos, are inappropriate with the uniform and are prohibited. Permanent makeup, such as eyebrow or eyeliner, is authorized if it conforms to standards.

3-77.     Females will not wear shades of lipstick and nail polish that contrast with their complexion, detract from the uniform, or that are extreme. Some examples of extreme colors include, but are not limited to, purple, gold, blue, black, white, bright (fire-engine) red, khaki, camouflage colors and fluorescent colors. Soldiers will not apply designs to nails or apply two-tone colors to nails. Females will comply with the cosmetics policy while in any military uniform or while in civilian clothes on duty.


3-78.     All soldiers will keep fingernails clean and neatly trimmed. Males will keep nails trimmed so as not to extend beyond the fingertip. Females will not exceed a nail length of inch, as measured from the tip of the finger. Females will trim nails shorter if the commander determines that the longer length detracts from the military image, presents a safety concern, or interferes with the performance of duties.


3-79.     Soldiers will maintain good personal hygiene and grooming on a daily basis. Not only is this an indicator of a disciplined soldier, but also demonstrates respect for others and for the uniform.


3-80.     Tattoos or brands that are visible in a class A uniform (worn with slacks/trousers) are prohibited (see exception in paragraph 3-84 below). Tattoos or brands that are extremist, indecent, sexist or racist are prohibited, regardless of location on the body, as they are prejudicial to good order and discipline within units. Extremist tattoos or brands are those affiliated with, depicting, or symbolizing extremist philosophies, organizations or activities.

3-81.     Indecent tattoos or brands are those that are grossly offensive to modesty, decency, or propriety; shock the moral sense because of their vulgar, filthy, or disgusting nature or tendency to incite lustful thought; or tend reasonably to corrupt morals or incite libidinous thoughts. Sexist tattoos or brands are those that advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on race, ethnicity, or national origin. Racist tattoos or brands are those that advocate a philosophy that degrades or demeans a person based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.

3-82.     Commanders must ensure soldiers understand the tattoo policy. For soldiers who are not in compliance, commanders may not order the removal of a tattoo or brand. However, the commander must counsel soldiers, and afford them the opportunity to seek medical advice about removal or alteration of the tattoo or brand.

3-83.     If soldiers are not in compliance with the policy, and refuse to remove or alter the tattoos or brands, commanders-

  • Ensure the soldier understands the policy.
  • Ensure the soldier has been afforded the opportunity to seek medical advice about the removal or alteration.
  • Counsel the soldier in writing. The counseling form will state that the soldier's refusal to remove extremist, indecent, sexist, or racist tattoos or brands anywhere on the body, or refusal to remove any type of tattoo or brand visible in the class A uniform (worn with slacks/trousers) will result in discharge.
  • Existing tattoos or brands on the hands that are not extremist, indecent, sexist, or racist, but are visible in the class A uniform are authorized for soldiers who entered the Army before 1 July 2002. Soldiers who entered the Army 1 July 2002 and later may not have tattoos that are visible in the Class A uniform.
  • Soldiers may not cover tattoos or brands in order to comply with the tattoo policy.

3-84.     Unit commanders or executive officers make determinations on the appropriateness of tattoos for soldiers currently on active duty. This authority cannot be further delegated. Any such determination must be fully documented in writing and include a description of existing tattoos or brands and their location on the body. The soldier will receive a copy of the determination.


3-85.     All soldiers must maintain a high standard of dress and appearance. Uniforms will fit properly; trousers, pants, or skirts should not fit tightly; and soldiers must keep uniforms clean and serviceable and press them as necessary.


3-86.     Soldiers must project a military image that leaves no doubt that they live by a common military standard and are responsible to military order and discipline. Soldiers will ensure that articles carried in pockets do not protrude from the pocket or present a bulky appearance.

That uniform stood for something to me-and it still does, something pretty grand and fine.

SGT Henry Giles3-21

3-87.     When required and prescribed by the commander, soldiers may attach keys or key chains to the uniform when performing duties such as charge of quarters, armorer, duty officer/NCO, or other duties as prescribed by the commander. Keys or key chains will be attached to the uniform on the belt, belt loops, or waistband.

3-88.     At the discretion of the commander and when required in the performance of duties soldiers may wear an electronic device on the belt, belt loops, or waistband of the uniform. Only one electronic device may be worn. It may be either a pager or a cell phone. The body of the device may not exceed 4x2x1 inches, and the device and carrying case must be black; no other colors are authorized. If security cords or chains are attached to the device, soldiers will conceal the cord or chain from view. Other types of electronic devices are not authorized for wear on the uniform. If the commander issues and requires the use of other electronic devices in the performance of duties, the soldier will carry them in the hand, pocket, briefcase, purse, bag, or in some other carrying container.

3-89.     Soldiers will not wear keys, key chains, or electronic devices on the uniform when the commander determines such wear is inappropriate, such as in formation, or during parades or ceremonies. Soldiers will not wear items or devices on the uniform when not performing required duties.

3-90.     While in uniform, soldiers will not place their hands in their pockets, except momentarily to place or retrieve objects. Soldiers will keep uniforms buttoned, zipped, and snapped. They will ensure metallic devices such as metal insignia, belt buckles, and belt tips are free of scratches and corrosion and are in proper luster or remain properly subdued, as applicable; and that all medals and ribbons are clean and not frayed. Soldiers will keep shoes and boots cleaned and shined. Soldiers will replace the rank insignia, name and US Army distinguishing tapes (nametapes), nameplates, unit patches, and combat and skill badges when unserviceable or no longer conform to standards.

3-91.     Lapels and sleeves of service, dress, and mess coats and jackets will be roll-pressed, without creasing. Skirts will not be creased. Trousers, slacks, and the sleeves of shirts and blouses will be creased. Soldiers may add military creases to the AG shade 415 shirt and the battle dress uniform (BDU) coat (not the field jacket). Soldiers will center the front creases on each side of the shirt, centered on the pockets, for those garments that have front pockets. Soldiers may press a horizontal crease across the upper back of the shirt or coat (not necessary on the male shirt due to the yoke seam), and they may press three equally spaced vertical creases down the back, beginning at the yoke seam or horizontal crease. Additionally, soldiers may crease the sleeves of the BDU coat. Soldiers are not authorized to sew military creases into the uniform.

3-92.     Although some uniform items are made of wash-and-wear materials or are treated with a permanent-press finish, soldiers may need to press these items to maintain a neat, military appearance. However, before pressing uniform items, soldiers should read and comply with care instruction labels attached to the items. Soldiers may starch BDUs and the maternity work uniform, at their option. Commanders will not require soldiers to starch these uniforms, and soldiers will not receive an increase in their clothing replacement allowance to compensate for potential premature wear that may be caused by starching uniforms.


3-93.     The beret is the basic headgear for utility uniforms in garrison environments. The beret is not worn in the field, in training environments, or in environments where the wear of the beret is impractical, as determined by the commander. Additionally, the beret is not worn on deployments unless authorized by the commander. Soldiers being transferred from one organization to another may continue to wear the beret and flash of the former unit until they report for duty at the new organization.

Figure 3-3. Wear of the Beret, Male and Female

3-94.     The beret is worn so that the headband (edge binding) is straight across the forehead, one (1) inch above the eyebrows. The flash is positioned over the left eye, and the excess material is draped over to the right ear, extending to at least the top of the ear, and no lower than the middle of the ear. Soldiers will cut off the ends of the adjusting ribbon and secure the ribbon knot inside the edge binding at the back of the beret. When worn properly, the beret is formed to the shape of the head; therefore, soldiers may not wear hairstyles that cause distortion of the beret. See Figure 3-3, Wear of the Beret, Male and Female.

3-95.     Soldiers who are not assigned to units or positions authorized wear of the tan, green, or maroon berets will wear the black beret. This includes senior and junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) instructors, unless otherwise indicated. Soldiers are issued the black beret upon assignment to their first permanent duty assignment after the completion of initial entry training or officer/warrant officer basic courses. Cadets and officer/warrant officer candidates will not wear the black beret. Split-option soldiers or soldiers in the simultaneous membership program will wear the black beret only when performing duties with their units, and they will wear the patrol cap with the BDU, when in a cadet or trainee status.

3-96.     Soldiers who have not been issued or who do not wear the black beret will wear the patrol cap with the BDU. In those cases where beret sustainment levels are not sufficient for turn-in and reissue of unserviceable berets, the commander can authorize the temporary wear of the patrol cap until the beret can be replaced. The Army flash is the only flash authorized for wear on the black beret, unless authorization for another flash was granted before the implementation of the black beret as the standard Army headgear (for example, Opposing Forces elements).

Ranger Tan Beret

3-97.     Soldiers assigned to the following units are authorized wear of the Ranger tan beret. Soldiers will wear the approved flash of the unit to which they are assigned:

  • 75th Ranger Regiment.
  • Ranger Training Brigade.
  • Ranger-qualified soldiers in the following units or positions, if they previously served in the 75th Ranger Regiment.
    • US Special Operations Command.
    • US Army Special Operations Command.
    • US Special Operations Command Joint Task Force.
    • Theater Special Operations Command.

Green Beret

3-98.     If approved by local commanders, all Special Forces-qualified soldiers (those carrying the Special Forces MOSs of 18A or 180A, CMF 18, and CSMs reclassified from 18Z to 00Z) are authorized to wear the Green Beret. This includes ROTC instructors and those attending training at an Army service school in a student status. Special Forces (SF) soldiers will wear the approved flash of the unit to which they are assigned. Special Forces soldiers who are assigned to an organization without an approved flash will wear the generic SF flash (the flash approved for soldiers assigned to SF positions, but not assigned to SF units).

Maroon Beret

3-99.     All soldiers assigned to airborne units whose primary missions are airborne operations wear the maroon beret. The airborne designation for a unit is found in the unit modification table of organization and equipment (MTOE). Other soldiers authorized to wear the maroon beret are as follows:

  • Active Army advisors to reserve airborne units on jump status.
  • Soldiers assigned to the airborne departments of the US Army Infantry School and the US Army Quartermaster School.
  • Soldiers assigned to long-range surveillance detachments designated as airborne.
  • Soldiers assigned to the airborne/airlift action office.
  • Recruiters of the Special Operations Recruiting Company (SORC), US Army Recruiting Command, will wear the USASOC flash.
  • Soldiers assigned to the airborne procurement team.
  • Soldiers assigned to 55th Signal Company Airborne Combat Camera Documentation Team.
  • Soldiers assigned to 982d Combat Signal Company airborne platoons.
  • Soldiers assigned to rigger detachments.


3-100.     Fitting instructions and alterations of uniforms will be made in accordance with AR 700-84, Issue and Sale of Personal Clothing, and TM 10-227, Fitting of Army Uniforms and Footwear. The following is a summary of general fitting guidelines:

  • Black all-weather coat. The length of the sleeves of the all-weather coat will be inch longer than the service coat.
    • Males. The bottom of the black all-weather coat will reach to a point 1 inches below the center of the knee.
    • Females. The bottom of the coat will reach a point at least 1 inch below the skirt hem, but not less than 1- inches below the center of the knee.
  • Uniform coats and jackets (male and female). The sleeve length will be 1 inch below the bottom of the wrist bone.
  • Trousers will be fitted and worn with the lower edge of the waistband at the top of the hipbone, plus or minus inch. The front crease of the trousers will reach the top of the instep, touching the top of the shoe at the shoelaces.
  • Trousers will be cut on a diagonal line to reach a point approximately midway between the top of the heel and the top of the standard shoe in the back. The trousers may have a slight break in the front.
  • Knee-length skirts. Skirts lengths will be no more than 1 inch above or 2 inches below the center of the knee.
  • Long-sleeved shirts. The sleeve length will extend to the center of the wrist bone.
  • Soldiers will wear appropriate undergarments with all uniforms.


3-101.     All soldiers will wear the Army uniform when on duty, unless granted an exception to wear civilian clothes. The following personnel may grant exceptions:

  • Commanders of major Army commands (MACOMs).
  • Assistant Secretaries, the Secretary of Defense or his designee, or Secretary of the Army.
  • Heads of Department of Defense agencies.
  • Heads of Department of the Army Staff agencies.

3-102.     Soldiers traveling on Air Mobility Command (AMC) and non-AMC flights on permanent change of station (PCS) orders, temporary duty (TDY), emergency leave, or space-available flights, are authorized to wear civilian clothes. Soldiers must ensure clothing worn is appropriate for the occasion and reflects positively on the Army. Travel to certain countries requires wear of civilian clothing. For up-to-date information concerning mandatory wear of civilian clothing in foreign countries, see DOD 4500.54G, The Department of Defense Foreign Clearance Guide (available online at http://www.fcg.pentagon.mil/fcg/fcg.htm). The individual's travel orders will reflect information authorizing the wear of civilian clothing.

3-103.     Soldiers may wear the BDU when deploying as part of a unit move and the mode of transportation is for the exclusive use of the military. Embarkation and debarkation points will be in military-controlled areas.

3-104.     Army National Guard technicians who are also members of the Army National Guard will wear the appropriate Army duty uniform while engaged in their civil service status.

3-105.     Wearing Army uniforms is prohibited in the following situations:

  • In connection with the furtherance of any political or commercial interest, or when engaged in off duty civilian employment.
  • When participating in public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies, or public demonstrations, except as authorized by competent authority.
  • When attending any meeting or event that is a function of, or is sponsored by, an extremist organization.
  • When wearing the uniform would bring discredit upon the Army.
  • When specifically prohibited by Army regulations.

3-106.     Soldiers will wear headgear with the Army uniform, except under the following circumstances:

  • Headgear is not required if it would interfere with the safe operation of military vehicles.
  • The wear of military headgear is not required while in or on a privately owned vehicle (POV), a commercial vehicle, or on public conveyance (such as a subway, train, plane or bus).
  • Soldiers will not wear headgear indoors unless under arms in an official capacity or when directed by the commander, such as for indoor ceremonial activities.
  • Soldiers will carry their headgear, when it is not worn, in their hand while wearing service, dress, and mess uniforms. 
  • Soldiers are not required to wear headgear to evening social events (after Retreat) when wearing the Army blue and white uniforms, the enlisted green dress uniform, the Army green maternity dress uniform, or the mess and evening mess uniforms.
  • Soldiers are authorized storage of the headgear, when it is not worn, in the BDU cargo pockets.  Soldiers must fold the headgear neatly as not to present a bulky appearance.
  • Soldiers will not attach the headgear to the uniform, or hang it from the belt.

3-107.     Soldiers may continue to wear uniform items changed in design or material as long as the item remains in serviceable condition, unless specifically prohibited. See Appendix D, "Mandatory Possession and Wear-out Dates," of AR 670-1.


3-108.     Generally speaking, the wear of a combination of civilian and military clothing is prohibited. However, when local commanders have authorized it, some uniform items, like the IPFU and the Army black all-weather coat may be worn with civilian clothing (provided rank insignia is removed). Wear of other items such as black oxford shoes (low quarters), combat boots, belts or gloves with civilian clothing are also allowed.

Civilian Bags

3-109.     Soldiers may carry civilian gym bags, civilian rucksacks, or other similar civilian bags while in uniform. Soldiers may carry these bags by hand, on one shoulder using a shoulder strap, or over both shoulders using both shoulder straps.  If the soldier opts to carry a bag over one shoulder, the bag must be carried on the same side of the body as the shoulder strap. Soldiers may not carry the bag slung across the body with the strap over the opposite shoulder.

3-110.     If soldiers choose to carry a shoulder bag while in uniform, the bag must be black with no other colors and may not have any logos. The contents of the bag may not be visible; therefore, see-through plastic or mesh bags are not authorized. There is no restriction on the color of civilian bags carried in the hand. Commanders govern the wear of organizational issue rucksacks in garrison and field environments.


3-111.     Female soldiers may carry black handbags in the hand or over one shoulder. Soldiers may not wear the shoulder bag in such a manner that the strap is draped diagonally across the body with the purse resting on the hip opposite the shoulder holding the strap.

3-112.     Civilian clothing is considered appropriate attire for individuals who are participating in civilian outdoor activities such as hikes or volksmarches, orienteering, or similar activities. Soldiers who are spectators at these activities may wear utility or field uniforms. However, commanders of participating units that provide support personnel, such as medical and traffic control personnel, may prescribe appropriate uniforms, to include utility or organizational uniforms, if warranted by the occasion, weather conditions, or activity.

3-113.     Soldiers may wear experimental uniform items while actively engaged in an experimental uniform test program approved by HQ, US Army training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), HQ, US Army Materiel Command (AMC), or the Army Uniform Board, HQDA. Soldiers will not wear experimental items after completion of the test unless such wear is approved by HQDA.


3-114.     When soldiers exercise their option to choose among various fabrics authorized for uniforms, they must ensure that all garments (coats, trousers, skirts and slacks) are made of the same material. When gold lace (sleeve or trouser ornamentation) or gold bullion is prescribed for wear with uniforms, soldiers may substitute gold-colored nylon, rayon, or synthetic metallic gold. If trouser and sleeve ornamentation is gold bullion, the cap ornamentation and shoulder strap insignia must also be gold bullion. Anodized aluminum white-gold colored buttons are not authorized for wear.


3-115.     Soldiers may wear a wristwatch, a wrist identification bracelet, and a total of two rings (a wedding set is considered one ring) with Army uniforms, unless prohibited by the commander for safety or health reasons. Any jewelry soldiers wear must be conservative and in good taste. Identification bracelets are limited to medical alert bracelets and missing in action/prisoner of war (MIA/POW) bracelets. Soldiers may wear only one item on each wrist.

3-116.     No other jewelry will appear exposed while wearing the uniform; this includes watch chains or similar items, pens, and pencils. The only authorized exceptions are religious items described at the beginning of this section. Other exceptions are a conservative tie tack or tie clasp that male soldiers may wear with the black four-in-hand necktie and a pen or pencil that may appear exposed on the hospital duty, food service, combat vehicle crewman (CVC), or flight uniforms.

Body Piercing

3-117.     When on any Army installation or other places under Army control, soldiers may not attach, affix, or display objects, articles, jewelry, or ornamentation to or through the skin while they are in uniform, in civilian clothes on duty, or in civilian clothes off duty (this includes earrings for male soldiers). The only exception is for female soldiers as follows (the term "skin" is not confined to external skin, but includes the tongue, lips, inside the mouth, and other surfaces of the body not readily visible):

  • Females are authorized to wear prescribed earrings with the service, dress, and mess uniforms, or while on duty in civilian attire.
  • Earrings may be screw-on, clip-on, or post-type earrings, in gold, silver, white pearl, or diamond. The earrings will not exceed six-mm or inch in diameter, and they must be unadorned and spherical.
  • When worn, the earrings will fit snugly against the ear. Females may wear earrings only as a matched pair, with only one earring per ear.
  • Females are not authorized to wear earrings with any Class C (utility) uniform (BDU, hospital duty, food service, physical fitness, and field or organizational).
  • When females are off duty, there are no restrictions on the wear of earrings.

3-118.     Ankle bracelets, necklaces, faddish (trendy) devices, medallions, amulets, and personal talismans or icons are not authorized for wear in any military uniform, or in civilian clothes on duty. Soldiers may not wear these items when doing so would interfere with the performance of their duties or present a safety concern. Soldiers may not be prohibited, however, from wearing religious apparel, articles, or jewelry meeting the criteria of AR 670-1 simply because they are religious in nature, if wear is permitted of similar items of a nonreligious nature. A specific example would be wearing a ring with a religious symbol. If the ring meets the uniform standards for jewelry and is not worn in a work area where rings are prohibited because of safety concerns, then wear is allowed and may not be prohibited simply because the ring bears a religious symbol.

Eyeglasses and Sunglasses

3-119.     Soldiers may wear conservative civilian prescription eyeglasses with all uniforms. Conservative prescription and nonprescription sunglasses are authorized for wear when in a garrison environment, except when in formation and while indoors. Individuals who are required by medical authority to wear sunglasses for medical reasons other than refractive error may wear them, except when health or safety considerations apply. Soldiers may not wear sunglasses in the field unless required by the commander for safety reasons in high-glare field environments.

3-120.     Eyeglasses or sunglasses that are trendy, or have lenses or frames with initials, designs, or other adornments are not authorized for wear. Soldiers may not wear lenses with extreme or trendy colors, which include but are not limited to red, yellow, blue, purple, bright green, or orange. Lens colors must be traditional gray, brown, or dark green shades. Soldiers will not wear lenses or frames that are so large or so small that they detract from the appearance of the uniform. Soldiers will not attach chains, bands, or ribbons to eyeglasses. Eyeglass restraints are authorized only when required for safety purposes. Soldiers will not hang eyeglasses or eyeglass cases on the uniform, and may not let glasses hang from eyeglass restraints down the front of the uniform.

Contact Lenses

3-121.     Tinted or colored contact lenses are not authorized for wear with the uniform. The only exception is for opaque lenses medically prescribed for eye injuries. Additionally, clear lenses that have designs on them that change the contour of the iris are not authorized for wear with the uniform.


3-122.     Soldiers will wear ID tags at all times when in a field environment, while traveling in aircraft, and when outside the continental United States (OCONUS). Soldiers will wear ID tags around the neck, except when safety considerations apply. See AR 600-8-14, Identification Cards for Members of the Uniformed Services, Their Family Members, and Other Eligible Personnel, for more information on the wear of ID tags.

3-123.     In restricted areas, commanders may prescribe the wear of security identification badges, in accordance with AR 600-8-14 and other applicable regulations. Soldiers will not wear security identification badges outside the area for which they are required. Soldiers will not hang other items from the security badge(s). The manner of wear will be determined by the organization that requires wear of the badges.


3-124.     Soldiers are authorized to wear commercially designed, protective headgear with the uniform when operating motorcycles, bicycles or other like vehicles, and are required to do so when installation regulations mandate such wear. Soldiers will remove protective headgear and don authorized Army headgear upon dismounting from the vehicle.

3-125.     Soldiers may wear protective/reflective outer garments with uniforms when safety considerations make it appropriate and when authorized by the commander. When safety considerations apply, commanders may require the wear of organizational protective or reflective items, or other occupational health or safety equipment with the uniform (such as during physical fitness training). If required, commanders will furnish protective or reflective clothing to soldiers at no cost.


3-126.     Civilian clothing is authorized for wear when off duty, unless the wear is prohibited by the installation commander in the continental United States (CONUS) or by the Major Army Command (MACOM) commander OCONUS. Commanders down to unit level may restrict the wear of civilian clothes by those soldiers who have had their pass privileges revoked under the provisions of AR 600-8-10, Leaves and Passes. When on duty in civilian clothes, soldiers will conform to the appearance standards in AR 670-1 unless exempted by the commander for specific mission requirements.


3-127.     This section provides an overview of selected chapters and articles from the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Military law or military justice is the branch of the law that regulates military activity. It is generally penal or disciplinary in nature and in the US, includes and is comparable to civilian criminal law. Its sources are many and varied, with some considerably pre-dating the US and its Constitution. However, since it is through the Constitution that our Public Law began to exist, the Constitution can properly be considered the primary source of the law governing our military.

American military justice is the best in the world and includes open trials, right to counsel, and judicial review.

Senator Patrick Leahy3-30

3-128.     The source of military law comes from two provisions of the US Constitution, those vesting certain powers in the legislative branch and those granting certain authority to the executive branch. In addition, the Fifth Amendment recognizes that offenses in the Armed Forces are dealt with in accordance with military law.

3-129.     Along with the Constitution, there are other sources, both written and unwritten, that govern the military. International law and numerous treaties affecting the military have contributed to define the law of war. Congress contributed the UCMJ and other statutes; Executive orders, including the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM); service regulations; and usages and customs of the Armed Forces form the foundation of military law. The civilian and military court systems have contributed decisions to clarify the gray areas. The UCMJ is federal law, enacted by Congress. The law authorizes the Commander-in-Chief (President of the United States) to implement the provisions of the UCMJ. The President does this via an executive order known as the Manual for Courts-Martial.

3-130.     Military discipline is founded upon self-discipline, respect for authority, and the embracing of the professional Army ethic with its supporting individual values. Military discipline is developed through individual and group training to create a mental attitude that will result in proper conduct and prompt obedience to lawful military authority. Soldiers demonstrate their discipline in many ways, including the prompt and correct execution of orders and compliance with regulations.

When soldiers get into trouble, they need firm but constructive support and guidance for correcting the problem at hand; they are not seeking sympathy or self-pity. Soldiers expect to see a role model, someone with knowledge of what needs to be done, the physical conditioning to lead by example, the self-discipline to set standards, and the maturity to recognize, acknowledge, and reward success.

GEN Colin L. Powell and CSM Robert F. Beach3-31

3-131.     It is your duty to abide by law and regulation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as you're in the Army. Soldiers obey and promptly execute the legal orders of their lawful superiors. Laws and regulations are part of everyday life. The UCMJ gives us judicial authority, which is essential to the Army's ability to accomplish its mission. The UCMJ is the statute that defines criminal offenses for soldiers.


3-132.     The Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) is a pretty big book. It contains the Uniform Code of Military Justice and instructs military lawyers and judges on how to conduct courts-martial. It is also where nonjudicial punishment (Article 15) is found. There are a total of 140 articles in the MCM. The MCM explains what conduct is in violation of the UCMJ, sets forth rules of evidence, contains a list of maximum punishments for each offense and explains types of court-martials. Articles 1 through 146 are in the following categories:

  • General Provisions-Articles 1 through 6.
  • Apprehension and Restraint-Articles 7 through 14.
  • Nonjudicial Punishment-Article 15.
  • Court-Martial Jurisdiction-Articles 16 through 21.
  • Composition of Courts-Martial-Articles 22 through 29.
  • Courts-Martial Procedures and Sentences-Articles 30 through 58.
  • Post-Trial Procedures and Review of Courts-Martial-Articles 59 through 76.
  • Punitive Articles-Articles 77 through 133. Also known as the "punitive offenses," these describe specific offenses that can result in punishment by court-martial or nonjudicial punishment.
  • Article 134 is a "catch-all" that covers any offenses not specifically named in Articles 77-133.
  • Miscellaneous Provisions-Articles 135 through 146.

3-133.     Soldiers have rights under the UCMJ. In some ways, the USMJ provides even greater protections of soldiers' rights than under strictly civilian jurisdiction. A soldier has the following rights:

  • The right to remain silent.
  • The right to counsel.
  • The right to demand trial.
  • Under Article 15, the right to present his case, in the presence of the imposing commander.
  • The right to call witnesses (if they are reasonably available).
  • The right to present evidence.
  • Under Article 15, the right to request a spokesperson (but not an attorney at the hearing).
  • The right to request an open hearing.
  • The right to examine all evidence.

3-134.     Most courts-martial are preceded by an Article 32 investigation. This is an investigation by an officer, probably from the same installation, that tries to determine if there is enough evidence to go to a court-martial. It can be thought of as a little like a grand jury in the civilian legal system. The Article 32 investigation will also consider if the charges are correct and how to proceed with the case, whether by court-martial, nonjudicial punishment, administrative action, or even no action at all.

3-135.     Refer to AR 27-10, Military Justice, the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM), United States, or visit your installation legal office for additional information. Also see Chapter 7 for information on the effects of the character of discharge on benefits after separation. Making the right decision is critical for the soldier receiving the punishment as well as the individual administering punishment under the UCMJ.


3-136.     Within the UCMJ is a provision for punishing misconduct through judicial proceedings like a court-martial. The UCMJ also gives commanders the authority to impose nonjudicial punishment, described in the UCMJ under Article 15. Article 15 provides commanders an essential tool in maintaining discipline. The Article allows commanders to impose punishment for relatively minor infractions. Only commanders may impose punishment under Article 15. A commander is any warrant officer or commissioned officer that is in command of a unit and has been given authority under AR 600-20, either orally or in writing, to administer nonjudical punishment.

3-137.     When reviewing the circumstances surrounding an incident of misconduct, the commander will ensure that prior to processing an Article 15, an actual offense under the UCMJ was committed. He ensures the alleged offense violated the UCMJ, Army Regulations, Army Policy, a lawful order, local laws or some other rule the soldier had a duty to obey.

3-138.     The soldier is informed that the commander has started nonjudicial punishment (Article 15) procedures against him. Once the commander has conducted the hearing and if he decides that the accused is (a) guilty and (b) needs to be punished, he will prescribe punishment that fits the offense(s). Soldiers may present evidence at Article 15 hearings. Evidence would be something that shows a soldier is not guilty of the alleged offense(s). A soldier may also present matters in extenuation and mitigation, which are reasons why he should be punished less or not at all.

3-139.     The level of proof is the same at both an Article 15 hearing and a court-martial; the imposing commander must be convinced of the accused soldier's guilt by the evidence presented before the soldier can be found guilty. Whatever the outcome of the hearing, an Article 15 is not considered a conviction and will not appear in your civilian record. On the other hand, if you demand a trial by court-martial and are convicted, this would be a federal conviction that would stay with you even after you leave the Army. No lawyers are involved in the Article 15 hearing however, the soldier has the right to speak with an attorney prior to accepting proceedings under Article 15. There is also no prosecutor at an Article 15 hearing. At a court-martial, a military lawyer may represent the accused at no cost to the soldier, and there would also be a prosecutor present.

3-140.     If a soldier thinks he has been punished excessively, or evidence was not properly considered, he may appeal to the next level of command within five days. The soldier is not entitled to a personal appearance in front of the appeal authority (although he may request one) so he should include written statements as to why the appeal should be granted. If the soldier doesn't submit these statements, the appeal authority may never get his side of what happened. The appeal authority can take any action to lessen the punishment but may NOT INCREASE the punishment given by the original commander.

3-141.     Article 15s come in different levels: Summarized, Company Grade and Field Grade. They differ in two main respects: the severity of the punishment and in how the record of it can affect a soldier's future in the Army. Maximum punishments are shown in Table 3-1 below.

Table 3-1. Maximum Punishments in Article 15



Company Grade

Field Grade


14 days

14 days

60 days

Extra Duty

14 days

14 days

45 days

Pay Forfeiture


7 days

month for 2 months

Rank Reduction
(E4 & below)


1 grade

1 or more grades

Rank Reduction
(E5 & E6)



1 grade

Rank Reduction
(E7 & up)




Note: If both restriction and extra duty are imposed they must be served at the same time. Pay forfeiture, restriction and extra duty may be all or partially suspended.

3-142.     Article 15s can affect a soldier's future. Summarized Article 15s are filed in the local files (at the installation Staff Judge Advocate office) for a period of two years or until the transfer of the soldier, whichever occurs first. Company and Field Grade Article 15s can be filed in the soldier's official military personnel file (OMPF). The commander in each case decides where to file the Article 15. An Article 15 in a soldier's official records will affect promotions, clearances, and special assignments.


3-143.     The Army has administrative means of discharging enlisted soldiers earlier than their original service obligation. These are not part of the UCMJ but are other tools commanders can use to maintain unit readiness. The reasons a commander may take such action vary from the extreme of soldier misconduct to the soldier's request because of some hardship that necessitates his discharge. These "chapters" are actually chapters of AR 635-200, Personnel Separations-Enlisted Personnel. Other regulations also authorize discharge for certain reasons: AR 600-43, Conscientious Objection; AR 635-40, Physical Evaluation for Retention, Retirement, or Separation; and AR 604-10, Military Personnel Security Program. The chapters in AR 635-200 are listed below in Table 3-2.

Table 3-2. Types of Chapter Discharges

Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Character of Service.
Separation for Expiration of Service Obligation.
Separation for Convenience of the Government.
Separation Because of Dependency or Hardship.
Defective Enlistment/Reenlistment and Extensions.
Separation of Enlisted Women-Pregnancy.
Alcohol or Other Drug Abuse Rehabilitation Failure.
Discharge in Lieu of Trail by Court-Martial.
Entry Level Performance and Conduct.
Retirement for Length of Service.
Separation for Unsatisfactory Performance.
Separation for Misconduct.
Discharge for Homosexual Conduct.
Selected Changes in Service Obligations.
Failure to Meet Body Fat Standards.
Qualitative Management Program.


3-144.     If separated, the soldier could receive one of three types of discharges (depending on the type of chapter): honorable, general (under honorable conditions) also called a general discharge, or a discharge under other-than-honorable-conditions, also called an "OTH." An honorable discharge is the best discharge a soldier can receive from the service. A general discharge affects some of the benefits a veteran is eligible for. An OTH discharge will deprive you of most of the benefits you would receive with an honorable discharge and may cause you substantial prejudice in civilian life. Generally, an OTH discharge is only possible under Chapters 14 and 15. Before you can be given an OTH, you have the right to have your case heard by an administrative separation board.

3-145.     The benefits available to you under the different types of discharges are listed in Chapter 7. Note that with a general discharge, you keep most of the pay entitlements or Veterans Administration (VA) benefits that you might have accrued thus far. For example, you can still cash in your accrued leave. However, you do lose any Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) contributions and any civil service retirement credit (that is, credit toward federal civil service retirement for your active duty military time) to which you would otherwise be entitled. The biggest problem with a general discharge is that it is the second best type of discharge. As such, a future employer may inquire as to why you didn't get the best type.

3-146.     The separation authority (your battalion or brigade commander, or the commanding general, depending on your type of chapter) decides whether or not you should be separated, and, if so, what type of discharge you should get. There are three ways to have input into those decisions.

3-147.     If you have less than six years of military service you may submit statements in your own behalf. If you have six years or more of military service, or you are being considered for an OTH discharge, you have two additional options. You may request a hearing before an administrative separation board. The board's job is to recommend to the separation authority whether you should be separated and, if so, with what kind of discharge. The separation authority makes the final decision but cannot do anything less favorable to you than the board recommended. At the board you have the right to legal representation

3-148.     You also may submit a conditional waiver. A conditional waiver is a document you send to the separation authority telling him that you will agree to give up your right to a board hearing if he promises to give you a better type of discharge (usually a general discharge). If the separation authority agrees, you get that better type of discharge. If he turns down your proposal, you still have the right to a board. In any case, you have the right to consult with a military lawyer to decide which option is best.


3-149.     American traditions and morals require us to educate and enforce the laws of war among members of the Armed Forces. Throughout the history of armed conflict, lives have been lost and property destroyed because combatants failed to abide by the laws of war. Some of these violations are caused by a blatant disregard for the international laws of war, and some are a result of pure ignorance. The laws are not new. Some versions of the present laws of war have been around a long time. Over 100 years ago most civilized nations recognized a need to prevent unnecessary destruction of lives and property on the battlefield. Most nations endorse these laws but do not always abide by them. The law of war today, embodied by the Hague and Geneva Conventions, can be generally divided into four categories:

  • Conduct of hostilities, forbidden targets, illegal tactics, and unlawful warfare techniques.
  • Treatment of wounded and sick on land and sea.
  • Treatment of prisoners of war.
  • Treatment of civilians.

3-150.     The conduct of armed hostilities on land is regulated by the law of land warfare which is both written and unwritten. It is inspired by the desire to diminish the evils of war. The purposes of the law of war are as follows:

  • Protect combatants and noncombatants from unnecessary suffering.
  • Safeguard certain fundamental human rights of persons who fall into the hands of the enemy, particularly prisoners of war, the wounded and sick, and civilians.
  • Facilitate the restoration of peace.


3-151.     The law of war places limits on employing any kind or degree of violence that is not actually necessary for military purposes. The law of war also requires belligerents to conduct hostilities with regard for the principles of humanity. The law of war is binding not only upon states but also upon individuals and the members of their armed forces. American soldiers must know and abide by the law of land warfare-even if the enemy does not.

3-152.     Any person, whether a member of the armed forces or a civilian who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible and liable for punishment. The term "war crime" is a technical expression for violation of the law of war by any person or persons, military or civilian. Every violation of the law of war is a war crime.

3-153.     In some cases, military commanders may be responsible for war crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other persons subject to their control. For example, if soldiers commit atrocities against prisoners of war, the responsibility may rest not only with the actual perpetrators but also with the commander, especially if the acts occurred by an order of the commander concerned. The commander is also responsible if he has or should have knowledge that soldiers or other persons subject to his control are about to commit or have committed a war crime and he fails to take steps to prevent such crime or to punish violators.

3-154.     The United States normally punishes war crimes as such only if they are committed by enemy nationals or by persons serving the interests of the enemy state. Violations of the law of war committed by persons subject to military law of the United States usually constitute violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and are prosecuted under the UCMJ. Commanders must insure that war crimes committed by members of their forces against enemy personnel are promptly and adequately punished.


3-155.     The fact that the law of war has been violated even if on the order of a superior authority, whether military or civil, does not change the act in question of its character as a war crime. It does not constitute a defense in the trial of an accused individual unless he did not know and could not reasonably have been expected to know that the act was unlawful. In all cases where the order is held not to constitute a defense to an allegation of war crime, the fact that the individual was acting pursuant to orders may be considered in mitigation of punishment.

3-156.     In considering the question of whether a superior order constitutes a valid defense, a court-martial takes into consideration the fact that obedience to lawful military orders is the duty of every member of the armed forces. At the same time, remember that members of the armed forces are bound to obey only lawful orders.

I've long since forgotten the name of the speaker, but I'll never forget what he said. 'Imagine this. In the spring of 1945, around the world, the sight of a twelve-man squad of teenage boys, armed and in uniform, brought terror to people's hearts. Whether it was a Red Army squad in Berlin, Leipzig, or Warsaw, or a German squad in Holland, or a Japanese squad in Manila, Seoul, or Beijing, that squad meant rape, pillage, looting, wanton destruction, senseless killing. But there was one exception: a squad of GIs, a sight that brought the biggest smiles you ever saw to people's lips, and joy to their hearts.'

Stephen H. Ambrose3-38


3-157.     Noncombatants are persons not taking part in hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those incapacitated by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause. Noncombatants shall in all circumstances be treated humanely without exception. The following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to noncombatants:

  • Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture.
  • Taking of hostages.
  • Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.
  • Passing sentences and carrying out executions without previous judgment of a regularly constituted court that affords all the judicial guarantees recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

3-158.     For more information about the law of land warfare, see FM 1-04.10 (27-10), The Law of Land Warfare.


3-159.     Department of the Army personnel must place loyalty to country, ethical principles, and law above private gain and other personal interests. Army Regulation 600-20, Army Command Policy and DOD 5500.7-R, Joint Ethics Regulation are the regulatory documents that affect Army standards of conduct.


3-160.     Relationships between soldiers of different rank are prohibited if they-

  • Compromise, or appear to compromise, the integrity of supervisory authority or the chain of command.
  • Cause actual or perceived partiality or unfairness.
  • Involve, or appear to involve, the improper use of rank or position for personal gain.
  • Are, or are perceived to be, exploitative or coercive in nature.
  • Create an actual or clearly predictable adverse impact on discipline, authority, morale, or the ability of the command to accomplish its mission.

Platoon Sergeant and Enlisted Soldier Relationship

SSG Young, a single male platoon sergeant of the 3rd Platoon, C Company, is dating PV2 Owens, a single female soldier in A Company, both in the same battalion. Their relationship is known to the command and throughout both units since they have lunch together and hold hands while walking in uniform. Both individuals say their relationship is serious but marriage has not been discussed. Both commanders do not believe that the relationship is presently affecting either unit. Should their respective unit commanders counsel SSG Young and Private Owens regarding this relationship?

Yes. They must be informed that holding hands while in uniform or while in public places is inappropriate. In addition, they must avoid behavior that could be perceived by other soldiers as suggesting that Private Owens is receiving special treatment because of her relationship with SSG Young. 3-39

3-161.     Certain types of personal relationships between officers and enlisted soldiers are prohibited. Prohibited relationships include on-going business relationships between officers and enlisted soldiers. This prohibition does not apply to landlord/tenant relationships or to one-time transactions such as the sale of an automobile or house but does apply to borrowing or lending money, commercial solicitation, and any other type of on-going financial or business relationship. In case of Army National Guard (ARNG) or United States Army Reserve (USAR) personnel, this prohibition does not apply to relationships that exist due to their civilian occupation or employment.

3-162.     Other prohibited relationships are dating, shared living accommodations other than those directed by operational requirements, and intimate or sexual relationships between officers and enlisted soldiers. This prohibition does not apply to marriages prior to 1 March 2000. Other exceptions are the following:

  • Relationships that comply with this policy but then become non-compliant due to a change in status of one of the members (for example, two enlisted members are married and one is subsequently selected as a warrant officer).
  • Personal relationships outside of marriage between members of the ARNG or USAR, when the relationship primarily exists due to civilian acquaintances.
  • Personal relationships outside of marriage between members of the regular Army and members of the ARNG or USAR when the relationships primarily exist due to civilian association.

3-163.     All soldiers must ensure that these relationships do not interfere with good order and discipline. Commanders will ensure that personal relationships, which exist between soldiers of different ranks emanating from their civilian careers, will not influence training.

Officer - Enlisted Gambling

A long-standing tradition in the battalion has been to have weekly poker games involving members of the staff. While both officers and enlisted soldiers participate regularly, no one plays against other soldiers in the same chain of command. They also enjoy office pools like football and other sports events. Is this a problem?

Army regulation prohibits gambling between officers and enlisted soldiers. Some states may also prohibit gambling, regardless of who is playing the game. The Joint Ethics Regulation (JER) prohibits certain gambling by DOD employees while on duty or on federally owned or leased property. Soldiers must be aware of both Army policy and applicable state law restrictions. Assuming this scenario does not violate the JER or state or federal law, officers may participate in poker games or pools only with other officers and enlisted only with enlisted soldiers. In any case leaders should beware of potential problems of how such activity is perceived. 3-40

3-164.     All military personnel share the responsibility for maintaining professional relationships. However, in any relationship between soldiers of different grade or rank the senior member is generally in the best position to terminate or limit the extent of the relationship. Nevertheless, all members may be held accountable for relationships that violate this policy.

3-165.     Commanders should seek to prevent inappropriate or unprofessional relationships through proper training and leadership by example. Should inappropriate relationships occur, commanders have available a wide range of responses. These responses may include counseling, reprimand, order to cease, reassignment, or adverse action. Potential adverse action may include official reprimand, adverse evaluation report(s), non-judicial punishment, separation, bar to reenlistment, promotion denial, demotion, and courts-martial.

3-166.     These prohibitions are not intended to preclude normal team building associations, which occur in the context of activities such as community organizations, religious activities, family gatherings, unit-based social functions, or athletic teams or events.


3-167.     Trainee and soldier relationships between permanent party personnel and Initial Entry Training (IET) trainees not required by the training mission are prohibited. This prohibition applies to permanent party personnel without regard to the installation of assignment of the permanent party member or the trainee.

3-168.     Recruiter and recruit relationships between permanent party personnel assigned or attached to the United States Army Recruiting Command and potential prospects, applicants, members of the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), or members of the Delayed Training Program (DTP) not required by the recruiting mission is prohibited. This prohibition applies to United States Army Recruiting Command personnel without regard to the unit of assignment of the permanent party member and the potential prospects, applicants, DEP or DTP members.


3-169.     Participation in extremist organizations and activities by Army personnel is inconsistent with the responsibilities of military service. The Army provides equal opportunity and treatment for all soldiers without regard to race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. Commanders enforce this Army policy because it is vitally important to unit cohesion and morale, and is essential to the Army's ability to accomplish its mission.

3-170.     All soldiers must reject participation in extremist organizations and activities. Extremist organizations and activities are those that advocate racial, gender or ethnic hatred or intolerance. They are also those that advocate, create, or engage in illegal discrimination based on race, color, gender, religion, or national origin. Extremist organizations are also those that advocate the use of or use force or violence or unlawful means to deprive individuals of their rights under the United States Constitution or the laws of the United States or any state, by unlawful means.

3-171.     Soldiers are prohibited from the following actions in support of extremist organizations or activities. Penalties for violations of these prohibitions include the full range of statutory and regulatory sanctions, both criminal (UCMJ), and administrative:

  • Participating in public demonstrations or rallies.
  • Attending a meeting or activity with the knowledge that the meeting or activity involves an extremist cause.
  • Fund-raising activities.
  • Recruiting or training members.
  • Creating, organizing or leading such an organization or activity.
  • Distributing literature that supports extremist causes.

3-172.     Commanders have the authority to prohibit soldiers from engaging in or participating in any other activities that the commander determines will adversely affect good order and discipline or morale within the command. Commanders may order the removal of symbols, flags, posters, or other displays from barracks. Commanders may also place areas or activities off-limits, or to order soldiers not to participate in those activities that are contrary to good order and discipline or morale of the unit or pose a threat to health, safety, and security of military personnel or a military installation. Commanders have options for dealing with soldiers that are in violation of the prohibitions. For example, the commander may use Article 15, bar to reenlistment or other administrative or disciplinary actions.

3-173.     Commanders must investigate any soldier involved with an extremist organization or activity. Indicators of such involvement are membership, receipt of literature, or presence at an event that could threaten the good order and discipline of the unit. Soldiers should be aware of the potential adverse effects that violation of Army policy may have upon good order and discipline in the unit and upon their military service.


3-174.     A person's sexual orientation is considered a personal and private matter and is not a bar to entry or continued service unless manifested by homosexual conduct. Homosexual conduct is grounds for separation from the Army. "Homosexual conduct" is a homosexual act, a statement by a soldier that demonstrates a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts, the solicitation of another to engage in homosexual act or acts, or a homosexual marriage or attempted marriage.

3-175.     Only a soldier's commander is authorized to initiate fact-finding inquiries involving homosexual conduct. A commander may initiate a fact-finding inquiry only when he has received credible information that there is a basis for discharge. Commanders are accountable for ensuring that inquiries are conducted properly and that no abuse of authority occurs. It is the commander's responsibility alone to investigate and take action in cases of alleged homosexual conduct. Other soldiers must not engage in behavior that may injure unit cohesion and team integrity, such as repeating rumors or harassing a soldier they believe has a different sexual orientation.


3-176.     The Army is a values-based organization where everyone is encouraged to do what is right by treating others as they should be treated-with dignity and respect. Hazing is in opposition to our values and is prohibited. Hazing is any conduct whereby one military member or employee, regardless of service or rank, unnecessarily causes another military member or employee, regardless of service or rank, to suffer or be exposed to an activity which is cruel, abusive, oppressive or harmful.

3-177.     Hazing includes, but is not limited to any form of initiation, "rite of passage" or congratulatory act that involves inflicting pain or encouraging others to engage in illegal, harmful, demeaning or dangerous acts. Physically striking another in order to inflict pain; piercing another's skin in any manner; forcing or requiring the consumption of excessive amounts of food, alcohol, drugs, or other substances can be considered hazing. Simply telling another soldier to participate in any such activity is also considered hazing. Hazing need not involve physical contact among or between military members or employees; it can be verbal or psychological in nature.

3-178.     Hazing is not limited to superior-subordinate relationships. It may occur between peers or even, under certain circumstances, may involve actions directed towards senior military personnel by those juniors in rank or grade to them. Hazing has at times occurred during graduation ceremonies or similar military "rites of passage." However, it may also happen in day-to-day military settings. It is prohibited in all cases, to include off duty or "unofficial" celebrations or unit functions. Express or implied consent to hazing is not a defense to violation of AR 600-20.


3-179.     The Code of Conduct applies to all members of the US Armed Forces. It is the duty of individual soldiers who become isolated from their unit in the course of combat operations to continue to fight, evade capture, and regain contact with friendly forces. But if captured, individual soldiers must live, act and speak in a manner that leaves no doubt that they adhere to the traditions of the US Army and resist enemy attempts of interrogation, indoctrination and other exploitation. Individual soldiers are accountable for their actions even while isolated from friendly forces or held by the enemy. See The Code of Conduct in Figure 3-4.

The Code of Conduct

I am an American fighting in the forces that guard my country and our way of life; I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action, which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

Should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies.

I will never forget that I am an American fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

Figure 3-4. The Code of Conduct

3-180.     Soldiers must take every reasonable step to prevent enemy exploitation of themselves and the US Government. If unable to completely prevent such exploitation, soldiers must limit exploitation as much as possible. In a sense, detained soldiers often are catalysts for their own release, based upon their ability to become unattractive sources of exploitation. That is, one who resists successfully may expect captors to lose interest in further exploitation attempts. Detainees or captives very often must use their judgment as to which actions will increase their chances of returning home with honor and dignity. Without exception, the soldier who can say honestly that he has done his utmost to resist exploitation upholds national policy, the founding principles of the United States, and the highest traditions of military service.

3-181.     Regardless of the type of detention or captivity or harshness of treatment, soldiers will maintain their military bearing. They should make every effort to remain calm and courteous and project personal dignity. This is particularly important during the process of capture and the early stages of internment when the captor may be uncertain of his control over the captives. Rude behavior seldom serves the long-term interest of a detainee, captive or hostage. Additionally, it often results in unnecessary punishment, which in some situations can jeopardize survival and severely complicate efforts to gain release of the detained or captured soldiers.

3-182.     There are no circumstances in which a detainee or captive should voluntarily give classified information or materials to unauthorized persons. To the utmost of their ability, soldiers held as detainees, captives, or hostages will protect all classified information. An unauthorized disclosure of classified information, for whatever reason, does not justify further disclosures. Detainees, captives, and hostages must resist, to the utmost of their ability, each and every attempt by their captor to obtain such information.

3-183.     In situations where detained or captured soldiers are held in a group, soldiers will organize, to the fullest extent possible, in a military manner under the senior military member present (regardless of service). Historically, establishment of a military chain of command has been a tremendous source of strength for all captives. In such circumstances, make every effort to establish and sustain communications with other detainees, captives, or hostages. Military detainees, captives, or hostages will encourage civilians being held with them to participate in the military organization and accept the authority of the senior military member. The senior military member is obligated to establish a military organization and to ensure that the guidelines in support of the Department of Defense (DOD) policy to survive with honor are not compromised. Army Regulation 350-30, Code of Conduct, Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Training covers the Code of Conduct.


3-184.     Army standards of conduct affect whether soldiers and Department of the Army civilians (DAC) may give gifts to each other. A "gift" includes nearly anything of monetary value, including services. A gift to the spouse of a soldier or DAC with the knowledge and permission of the soldier/DAC is considered a gift to that person. Items not considered gifts are-

  • Coffee, doughnuts and similar modest items of food and refreshments when offered other than as part of a meal.
  • Greeting cards, most plaques, certificates and trophies, which are intended solely for presentation.
  • Any prize, commercial discount, or other benefit which is available to the general public, all federal employees, or all military members (e.g., military discounts).


3-185.     As a general rule, soldiers may not directly or indirectly, give a gift to or make a donation toward a gift for an official superior. Soldiers likewise may not accept a gift from a subordinate. An exception to the general rule is that on an occasional basis, including any occasion on which gifts are traditionally given or exchanged, the following may be given to an official superior or accepted from a subordinate:

  • Items, other than cash, with an aggregate market value of $10 or less per occasion.
  • Items such as food and refreshments to be shared in the office among several soldiers/DACs.
  • Personal, customary hospitality provided at a residence, for example, inviting your supervisor over for dinner.
  • Items given in connection with the receipt of personal hospitality if of a type and value customarily given on such occasions, for example, bringing your dinner party hostess a bouquet of flowers.

3-186.     The other exception to the general rule is in giving gifts in recognition of infrequently occurring occasions of personal significance. Examples of these are as marriage, illness, the birth or adoption of a child, or upon occasions that terminate a subordinate-superior relationship, such as retirement, resignation, or transfer. The following limitations exist for this infrequent occasion exception:

  • The fair market value of a gift or gifts from a single donating group should not exceed $300.
  • The maximum amount that may be solicited for a gift or gifts for a special, infrequent occasion is $10.
  • The cost of food, refreshments, and entertainment provided to mark the occasion for which the gift is given do not have to be included in the $300/10 limitations.


3-187.     Soldiers and DACs may not ask for gifts. Additionally, they may not accept gifts from a "prohibited source" (generally defined as any person or entity who does, or seeks to do, business with DOD). Even if an item would otherwise be considered a prohibited gift from an outside source, there are a few exceptions which permit acceptance. These include the following:

  • Gifts with a retail value of $20 or less per occasion, provided that the aggregate value of gifts received from any one person or entity does not exceed $50 in a calendar year.
  • Gifts which are clearly motivated by a family relationship or personal friendship.
  • Gifts resulting from the outside business activities of soldiers or their spouses.
  • Free attendance provided by the sponsor of an event for the day on which a soldier is speaking or presenting information at the event.
  • Free attendance provided by the sponsor of a widely attended gathering of mutual interest that clearly has government interest.
  • Gifts accepted by the soldier under a specific statute or regulation (for example, foreign gifts valued at $260 or less accepted in accordance with AR 1-100, Gifts and Donations).


3-188.     Congress has consented to the receipt of certain foreign gifts of minimal value, i.e., with a retail value of $260 or less. It is the recipient's burden to establish value. A personal memorandum for record should be made and kept for all foreign gifts received under $260 for the recipient's personal protection.

3-189.     Gifts over the $260 limit should be refused; however, if doing so will result in embarrassment, or would offend or otherwise adversely affect the foreign government giving the gift, then the gift may be accepted. In this case the recipient must make a full record of the event, including the circumstances surrounding the gift, the date and place of presentation.

3-190.     Ordinarily, the gift, and supporting information above must be forwarded to Commander, US Army Total Personnel Command (PERSCOM), within 60 days of gift receipt. Gifts are then normally forwarded to the General Services Agency for proper disposition. Organizations may request to retain gifts locally for use in an official capacity, (e.g., to display in the unit). Those requests also go to PERSCOM but the gifts may be retained at the unit pending PERSCOM approval. In some circumstances, the recipient may also purchase gifts for their full retail value.

3-191.     For additional information on giving or receiving gifts refer to AR 1-100, Gifts and Donations.


3-192.     Fund-raising events and activities for organizations may not conflict or interfere with the annual Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) and Army Emergency Relief (AER) fund drives. Generally, CFC and AER are the only fund-raising authorized throughout the Army. Such fund-raising must be conducted in accordance with (IAW) AR 600-29, Fund-Raising Within the Department of the Army, or AR 930-4, Army Emergency Relief.

3-193.     Provided no on-the-job fund-raising is involved, installation commanders may authorize the following fund-raising activities-

  • Fund-raising in support of installation Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) activities IAW AR 215-1, Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Activities And Nonappropriated Fund Instrumentalities, and AR 600-29.

  • Occasional fund-raising in support of on-post-private organizations IAW AR 600-29.

  • Other limited fund-raising activities to assist the unfortunate. These activities may include the use of "poppies" or other similar tokens by veterans' organizations, or the placement of collection boxes in public use areas of Army buildings or installations for the voluntary donation of foods or goods for charitable cause. Such activities must be consistent with AR 600-29.

    3-194.     Fund-raising by religious organizations or their affiliates is authorized only in connection with religious services and must be conducted in accordance with AR 165-1, Chaplain Activities in the United States Army.


    3-195.     The Lautenberg Amendment to the Gun Control Act of 1968, effective 30 September 1996, makes it a felony for those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence to ship, transport, possess, or receive firearms or ammunition. The Amendment also makes it a felony to transfer a firearm or ammunition to an individual known, or reasonably believed, to have such a conviction. Soldiers are not exempt from the Lautenberg Amendment.

    3-196.     Summary court-martial convictions, nonjudicial punishment under Article 15, UCMJ, and deferred prosecutions (or similar alternative dispositions) in civilian court do not constitute qualifying convictions within the meaning of the Lautenberg Amendment. The prohibitions do not preclude a soldier from operating major weapons systems or crew served weapons such as tanks, missiles, and aircraft. The Lautenberg Amendment applies to soldiers with privately owned firearms and ammunition stored on or off post.

    3-197.     Army policy is that all soldiers known to have, or soldiers whom commanders have reasonable cause to believe have, a conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic are non-deployable for missions that require possession of firearms or ammunition. Soldiers affected by the Lautenberg Amendment are not eligible for overseas assignment. However, soldiers who are based outside the continental United States (OCONUS) will continue to comply with their assignment instructions.

    3-198.     Soldiers with qualifying convictions may not be assigned or attached to tables of organization and equipment (TOE) or modified TOE (MTOE) units. Commanders will not appoint such soldiers to leadership positions that would give them access to firearms and ammunition. Soldiers with qualifying convictions may not attend any service school where instruction with individual weapons or ammunition is part of the curriculum.

    3-199.     Soldiers whom commanders know, or have reasonable cause to believe have, a qualifying conviction may extend if otherwise qualified, but are limited to a one year extension. Affected soldiers may not reenlist and are not eligible for the indefinite reenlistment program. Soldiers barred from reenlistment based on a Lautenberg qualifying conviction occurring after 30 September 1996 may not extend their enlistment. However, such soldiers must be given a reasonable time to seek removal of the conviction or a pardon.

    3-200.     Officers are subject to the provisions of the Lautenberg Amendment like any other soldier. The effects of are somewhat different if an officer has a qualifying conviction. Officers may request release from active duty or submit an unqualified resignation under AR 600-8-24, Officer Transfers and Discharges.


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