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Commanding Officer Questions

In the United States military and several other countries militaries there are classified ranks. These ranks define the individual’s place in the branch of the military that they serve. Also, these military branches are broken into smaller units, over each unit there is a commanding officer in control. But what can a commanding officer do and what can’t they? Below are questions regarding commanding officers that have been answered by Experts.

What is a commanding officer?

A commanding officer is the military unit’s officer in command. Commanding officers are often allowed, as long as they stay in the bounds of Military Law, to run their unit as they deem fit as they have command over the unit. The commanding officer which may also be known as CO has the power to discipline members of their unit, while at the same time being responsible for the unit and the actions of its individual members. The commanding officer also may have to make decisions regarding finances, and how the force will be used. Since there are not as many command positions as there are officers, the position of commanding officer is a very sought after position. A commanding officer often may have assistants to help with the responsibilities of running a unit.

Is it legal for a commanding officer to tape a conversation with personnel ranked below them?

In some cases it would be considered legal for a commanding officer to tape conversations that they had with others under their command. The other party does not have to consent for it to be legal. This is because the Federal Law has an allowance for an individual to tape their own conversations with another party, without the consent of the other party.

Can a commanding officer change an honorable discharge to something other than honorable discharge?

In some situations this would not be allowable for a commanding officer to change an honorable discharge to another type of discharge. For a discharge other than an honorable one to be done, a board hearing must take place with counsel representation, unless the individual being discharged waives this right. If a soldier has deserted and is unable to be reached so they may be given notice of the hearing is the only time where a board does not have to take place. However if an attempt to contact the soldier did not truly occur, then that soldier can try to have it corrected by the soldier filling out a DD Form 149

Is it legal for a commanding officer to contact a court in regards to one of their unit member’s case?

A commanding officer may contact the courts in regards to one of their unit members case, if they are letting the courts know that the scheduled court date may interfere will the individual’s schedule within their unit. If a commanding officer were to tell the court about the soldier’s military records then the commanding officer may be infringing on privacy rights.

Can an individual sue their commanding officer?

According to many laws filing a tort claim against a commanding officer would not be not possible as long as the individual is still in active duty. The case law that is behind this is Feres vs. US, which was a Supreme Court case. This case basically states that no individual on active duty in the military may raise a tort claim against the United States, and an individual’s commanding officer is acting in part for the United States.

A commanding officer is an officer that is in control of military unit. They are able to contact the courts about soldiers in their unit to get court dates changed. They are also able to tape their conversations they have with soldiers in their unit without those soldiers giving consent. Commanding officers may not be sued by those soldiers who are on active duty. If an individual has any questions regarding commanding officers they are able to ask the Experts.

Ask a Military Lawyer

P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 11988
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
11181181
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Military Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

P. Simmons
Military Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 11441
Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
Allen M., Esq.
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 4035
Lawyer and current JAG officer.
Marsha411JD
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 1149
Licensed attorney and former Navy JAG serving ashore, afloat and at the OJAG

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