The Manual for Court Martial, the 2008 edition, required compliance with
a lawful order within a
reasonable amount of time. The new manual changes this requirement to 'immediate.'
Immediate compliance is required for any order that does not explicitly or implicitly indicate that delayed compliance is authorized or directed.
Therefore, it may be prudent to verify with each superior officer whether
immediate compliance is necessary. For future orders, a present statement
by a Servicemember indicating his or her intent not to comply does not
constitute an Article 90, UCMJ, violation without taking any additional
There are several 'so called' defenses under Article 90, UCMJ.
1) actual knowledge – If the Servicemember did not know about the
order (because he never received it) or did not know that the person who
issued it was a superior officer (because it was dark) this is not a violation
of the Article 90, UCMJ.
2) the order must have a relation to military duty, for example an order
to steal military equipment would most likely not be a lawful order (judges
determine lawfulness of an order).
When charged with disoberying a Superior Officer, contact a military defense
counsel who is familiar with it. This information does not constitute
legal advice. If you need legal advice contact an attorney.