MILITARY JUSTICE AND UNIFORM REGULATIONS
Ever since the beginning of navies, there have been laws peculiarly
applicable to the sea and seafaring people.
Rear Admiral Albert E. Jarrell, USN
Every state and city in the United States has laws
against murder, robbery, and assault. There also are laws
for safety, traffic safety, fire prevention, and the good
order of the populace. To discourage lawbreakers,
federal, state, and local governments set up penalties that
are proportionate to the crimes committed. The penalties
range from fines for minor infractions of the law, to
long-term jail sentences for offenses such as robbery,
assault, or manslaughter, to execution for murder.
The Navy is no different. We have laws and
regulations to govern us in much the same way as the
governments mentioned above govern civilians. For
example, we punish crimes of theft, assault, and murder
as severely as the civilian community. In addition to
those regulations, the Navy has laws that are peculiar
only to the military establishment.
The laws and regulations that govern us in the Navy
exist to help, not hinder, us. In any organization
discipline and justice are essential. In this chapter, you
will be presented with material about proper military
conduct, discipline, punishment, justice, and uniform
regulations in the United States Navy.
PETTY OFFICERS AUTHORITY
Learning Objectives: Recognize the difference between
general authority and organizational authority. Recall
nonpunitive measures available to supervisors.
Authority is a necessary leadership tool. However,
it can never take the place of strong, positive leadership.
When you make petty officer third class and later when
you advance in rate as a petty officer (PO), you often
will need to consider your authority and the effect your
use of it will have on the people for whom you are
Authority ties directly to your duties and
responsibilities. The exercise of authority links to your
acceptance of responsibility. You are given authority
only to support you in carrying out your assigned duties
and responsibilities. You have "general authority" as a
petty officer by virtue of your position in the Navy
organization, and you have "organizational authority" by
virtue of the particular billet you are holding.
Your general authority as a PO stems from article
1037 of U.S. Navy Regulations (Authority of Warrant
Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Petty
Officers). Article 1020 (Exercise of Authority) gives you
the right to exercise authority over all persons
subordinate to you. Article 1132 (Compliance with
Lawful Orders) charges subordinates to obey their
Petty officers derive their organizational authority
from their assigned billets within a particular command.
This command organizational structure comes from
Standard Organization and Regulations of the U.S.
Navy. That Navy instruction provides regulations and
guidance governing the conduct of all members of the
Navy. It also specifies the individual duties and
responsibilities of personnel within a unit organization
from the commanding officer down to the messenger of
the watch. Articles 1020 and 1037 of U.S. Navy
Regulations grant officers, warrant officers, and petty
officers the authority needed to perform their duties.
Authority includes the right to require action of
others. We direct the actions of others by oral or written
orders that are subject to general limitations. Orders
must be lawful since subordinates are required to obey
lawful orders only (article 1132, U.S. Navy