Respect within the military

Table of Content

Respect is very important within the military. Respect could be said to be reciprocal in the military as the true concept of respect is doing to others what you want them to do to you. Though, a junior officer is subordinate to his senior colleague that is not to say that he treats him with contempt as an amount of regard should be accorded to the junior officer.

Salute is also a form of respect in the military as it is used to show respect to fellow colleagues in the military. When a salute is given and it is not returned, it is seen as a form of disrespect. In the military if a fellow colleague salutes, you are obligated to salute back.

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Junior military officers are bound by rules to obey their senior counterparts; the disrespect of a senior military officer has vast consequences. A junior officer who is found disregarding the authority or kicking against the order of a senior military officer is chastised and punished for his disrespectful behavior.

Respect is one of the fundamental and basic values in the military and should be treated with seriousness as anyone who disrespects his senior colleague is subject to reproach.

Everyone in the military must have respect, respect for fellow colleagues; both junior and senior colleague alike.

Respect is one of the first lessons a newly recruited military officer is taught.

A newly recruited hoping to go climb through the ranks of the military must show respect to their superiors as they must remember that the superiors were once junior officers like them.

For a military officer to show respect he has to understand the true concept of respect.

A Military officer does not only show respect to someone, but also shows respect to the  person’s wishes and hence caters for the person in his time of need.

There are various forms of disrespect in the military. A military officer could disrespect a fellow military officer verbally, that is he says some wrong things to a fellow military officer. A military officer could also disrespect a fellow military officer non-verbally; this form of disrespect is exhibited as a result of someone’s actions towards a fellow military officer and could range from the simplest of disrespectful actions to the cruelest of actions.

The consequences of disrespect in the military could be grave.

The military is known for discipline and respect is a basic tool towards achieving this. The main thing that prevents disrespect is instilling military discipline. When there is a challenge on discipline by displeased military officers it leads to disrespect.

When a military officer resists the authority of his superior, the officer in question is said to be disrespectful and faces the consequences of being punished for his behavior.

When a military order is given by a superior, it must be obeyed by subordinate officers as refusal to follow these orders is an act of disobedience. It should be noted that if an order was given by a military officer that is not a superior, this kind of order might not be followed as it is called a “military non-order” (Shanor, 1996).

A military superior takes full responsibility in ensuring that his orders are followed. There should not be any form of contradiction in the orders given.

Take for instance; if a junior officer is given order by two senior officers and the aim of the two orders contradicts each other, the junior officer is free to inform the second senior officer of the initial order given by the first senior officer. The junior officer should obey the order of the second officer as the second officer could be aware of some changes that accounted for giving the new order. If the junior officer obeys the order of the second senior officer, his action should not be seen as a form of disrespect and should not be punished.

The military forces of a country are governed and bounded by certain military law. These laws are ratified by the senate or congress of the country.

The Principle and rules underlying respect and its importance within the Military

The principle of respect within the military simply lies in the treatment of others the way we want them to treat us. Fellow military officers are treated with respect and dignity, while expecting the same treatment from them. A senior military officer that respects the feelings of his junior officers is more likely to be respected and regarded than those who treat their junior officers with disregard and resentment (Caforio, 2006).

Respect is not only about showing respect to a senior military officer or a fellow officer; it is also about respecting the several laws that guide the military force. A military officer shows respect to the rules and ordinances guiding the force. A military officer is not permitted to lie under oath as this attitude is seen as disrespect to the law. Any military officer that disregards and disobeys the law is severely punished and stands the danger of been removed from the military as he has

no respect for the laws binding on the force. If he is not removed, he could be demoted depending on the intensity of his disrespect.

There are several rules on respect within the military. The rules are set in order to ensure that when a soldier talks to a fellow soldier or gives a junior officer an order it is treated with urgent cooperation and respect.

There are several international rules governing military operations with special regards to respect and discipline within the force that have been set up in several countries (Bishop, 1974).

The significance of the basic rules on respect is often underestimated by junior military officers. It should be stated that the rules were not set in order to deter military officers from completing their assignment or fulfilling their mission, but they are rather guides that are helpful in accomplishing these missions.

On several occasions, the human rights law and the law of armed conflict are disobeyed in order to gain advantage over ones enemy, which goes against the principle of respect for human rights (Loveman, 1999).

It is not just the acceptance of the rules of respect that matters, it is rather the intention of one’s heart to follow them and the clear will to fully obey these rules that counts.  The ability to obey orders to the latter is fully appreciated and could be followed by a reward to the obedient officer, who could be promoted.

The importance of respect within the military cannot be overemphasized. Orders must be obeyed.

One’s attitude towards respect could make or mar their position in the military, as a respectful officer is more likely to be favored to a disrespectful officer.

A disrespectful military officer is in danger of having his career cut short for his bad conduct as indiscipline is not tolerated in the military.

 A senior military officer must be respected by a junior military officer. The fact that senior officers have been through a lot, going through various ranks before getting to the current position they occupy is enough reason to show respect to them. This is not to say as mentioned earlier that a senior officer should treat his junior colleague with contempt.

One’s career could be influenced positively if they respect orders and honor senior colleagues in the military.

When military officers show respect to one another, they appreciate themselves better.

In order to adequately deal with various threats to international peace, there must be respect for other countries and territories, there must also be the will to observe and obey international rules and ordinances as this would go a long way in achieving peace and stability in the world (Bishop, 1974). For instance, assume a law is passed that the military of a particular country refrain from launching test missiles on a particular country and that particular military defies this order but goes ahead dropping the missiles on the country. The country that is been attacked as a result of this test missiles would feel threatened as they envisage an imposing danger to life and property of its citizen. This country thus retaliates and there are attacks and counter-attacks and these attacks between these two countries could escalate into a regional war or world war.
Hence, military officers could help in stabilizing peace in the world if they respect and fully obey basic international laws such as the law of armed conflict and respect for human rights.

The exemplary virtues extolled by military officers is highly important in sustaining respect in the military.

The good conduct of a military officer even under complex conditions is an important characteristic that must be exhibited by the officer.

Therefore, correct behavior of military personnel even under difficult circumstances is important as it helps maintain and sustain peace within the ranks of the military.

The military would help contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the world if they comply with the basic rules guiding the operation of military action.

Discipline vis-à-vis respect is an important aspect when it comes to the management of a military force. It is the most important strength of the military. A military officer should always respect his country when called upon at any time and be disciplined while in service for the nation as this gives the officer dignity, national pride and integrity.

Instilling respect and discipline in the military

The act of instilling discipline and respect in the military is the act of maintaining a state of order and teaching obedience within an armed force. It includes the process of compelling junior officers to submit to superior orders and respect the authority in the military force.

The responsibility of instilling respect and regard for fellow colleagues in the military is perfectly clear, but realistically speaking the task is rather difficult and the practice and conduct of some military personnel is not encouraging.

The lack of good leadership has really hampered the course of instilling discipline and respect in the military. The failure to fully implement the law binding respect is really hindering the progress in instilling respect and discipline in the military.

There will always be one threat or the other posed on some issues of respect even in the best of military forces.

Senior military officers might not have the time to fully instill the discipline in military officers, as they could be busy attending to other matters which they might consider as being more important.

It takes only a dedicated senior military officer that makes sure this discipline (respect) is fully enforced. During wartimes it is rather difficult to start instilling respect in military officers as they have to attend to the war issues at hand. It is thus in peacetime that the issues of respect could be raised and the discipline could be taught.

Another hindrance to instilling respect in the military is that the study of the military laws binding respect could be rather boring to most military officers as they see the irrelevance in this regard.

A problem then arises, if commandants of military forces do not live by example and by precepts, which is if they do not respect the law themselves and live by it then they give the junior officers the privilege and an excuse to disobey the law themselves. The junior officers may feel that if my superiors live in this manner and they tell me to live otherwise, then they might be misleading me and they end up having to disobey the orders of their superior. A junior officer picks up certain behavior or action from their senior officers.

Military superiors have the task of ensuring that junior military officers obey the laws of respect and practice the principles of discipline. It is their duty to give clear orders in this regard as if this is not done, the junior officers is more likely to treat the issue with levity.

The problems that face the observance of the rules and the laws of respect are insufficient time and misplaced priority as there is a form of irrelevance on the issue. But, realistically to every problem there is a solution.

Military men learn respect and discipline by going through several drills; discipline is believed to be instilled in soldiers through the parading session. It has been observed that when training military officers (newly recruits), it brings out their real attitudes. The drill method involves

using psychological effects to instill discipline into recruits by hitting them harder the more they stood firm until they break (Caforio, 2006). After breaking the recruits now realizes that they are nothing in the presence of their superiors and that they are capable of making mistakes. After this drilling process, the drilled officers would no longer disobey the orders given by their superior. Discipline vis-à-vis respect to one’s superior is now said to have been instilled in the military officers who have undergone the drilling process.

The Consequences of disrespect within the military

Superior Military officers are not tolerant to disrespectful officers. Disrespectfulness is not allowed in the military. Disrespect a superior officer or disrespect to the law is not tolerated in the military, disrespect could be done either by what you say or what you do. An officer who goes against the order of a senior officer is said to be disrespectful, similarly a junior officer who says negative or rude things against the law or his superior is also said to be disrespectful.

The consequences of disrespecting a senior officer are severe. There are several laws that empower a senior to punish junior officers for disrespecting them. A senior could decide to demote or dismiss a disrespectful junior officer. The punishment is given depending on the gravity of the disrespect by the junior officer.

Disrespecting an order could also wreck havoc. Suppose an officer decides to disobey the order of a superior who says that arms and ammunition should be taken to some military officers who are engaged in battle could have grave consequences as these combatants who now lack sufficient firepower are in danger of losing the battle and also losing their lives. When an order is given it must always be obeyed and treated with all form of seriousness.

Several military regulations are put in place to deal with erring officers. Disrespectful military officers are made to face a panel that gives disciplinary measure to erring officers.

The Military Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP) committee investigates into a disrespectful conduct and there is subsequent hearing to decide whether or not the indicted officer should be punished. If the officer is to be punished, the committee then decides the extent of the punishment.

Junior officers who attempt to disobey military orders may face been punished by imprisonment of about one to five years depending on the havoc caused by their negligence.

There are certain standards of conduct which gives military officers guidance on the standards of conduct and moral values. Defiance of these standards’ by military officers could result in prosecution by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

A disrespectful military officer could be punished for his disobedience to orders by being drilled. A disrespectful officer is sometimes drilled by his superior in various ways, the superior could tell them to jog round the garrison. A junior officer could be drilled by marching on the spot, they are made to sweat thoroughly until all parts of their body become weak and they are now made to realize and regret their uncoordinated action.

Conclusively, it has been observed as discussed that respect is a very important virtue in the military as it is necessary for military officers to respect their senior colleagues and also respect one another. The consequences of disrespect are grave and could hinder the progress of a military officer. Erring military officers are severely punished for their misconduct and disrespect towards senior military officers. Respects and discipline should be fully instilled in the military as this is very important in maintaining the status quo of the military, which is the main reason of its existence.


Bishop, J. W. (1974). Justice Under Fire: A Study of Military Law. New York: Charterhouse.

Caforio, G. (2006). Handbook of the sociology of the military . New York: Springer.

Loveman, B. (1999). For la Patria: politics and the armed forces in Latin America. Maryland:

            Rowman & Littlefield.

Shanor, C. A., & L., H. L. (1996). Military Law in a Nutshell (2nd Edition ed.). St. Paul, Minn:

            West Publishing.


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