When soldiers should disobey orders

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The United States military has existed for hundreds of years on the precept that the commanding officers determine the goals, the courses of action and the strategies.

It is up to individual soldiers then to follow those orders, even against a soldier’s personal preferences or instinct, to achieve the overall objectives. But that’s apparently now so out of date, says a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Gen. Mark Milley, the chief of staff for the U.S. Army, made a stunning comment about the order and discipline of the institution: that soldiers can and probably even should disobey orders.

On some occasions.

In a statement reported by the Army News Service, he suggested the goal of the commanding officer needs to be a priority for his soldiers, rather than the specific instructions.

“We’re the military, so you’re supposed to say, ‘Obey your orders,’” Miley said. “That’s kind of fundamental to being in the military. We want to keep doing that. But a subordinate needs to understand that they have the freedom and they are empowered to disobey a specific order, a specified task, in order to accomplish the purpose. It takes a lot of judgment.”

He said, for example, if there are orders for whatever reason to seize “Hill 101.”

“I’ve said the purpose is to destroy the enemy,” Milley said. “And the young officer sees Hill 101, and the enemy is over on Hill 102. What does he do? Does he do what I told him to do, seize Hill 101? Or does he achieve the purpose, destroy the enemy on Hill 102?”

Milley said the soldiers should take “Hill 102.”

“And he shouldn’t have to call back and say ‘hey boss … can I go over to 102?’ He shouldn’t have to do that,” Milley said. “They should be empowered and feel they have freedom of maneuver to achieve the purpose.”

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