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Posted: 1/25/2006 6:57:30 PM EDT
from:www.estripes.com/article.asp?section=104&article=34524


Can U.S. military commanders assert authority over civilians?
Precedent says command has power over all SOFA personnel


By Juliana Gittler, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Wednesday, January 25, 2006



A general order signed last Thursday by Commander, Naval Forces Japan Rear Adm. James Kelly places restrictions on when military and status of forces civilians — and their dependents — can drink on and outside Yokosuka Naval Base.

The order was signed in the wake of recent incidents, including a USS Kitty Hawk crewmember being accused in the Jan. 3 killing of a 56-year-old Yokosuka woman.

For servicemembers, an order’s an order. But what about civilians? How can military commanders place restrictions on nonmilitary personnel?

Overseas commanders have greater discretion over the personnel in their command than in the States, said U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force Staff Judge Advocate Col. Edmund S. Bloom.

Bloom would not speak about the CNFJ order specifically, but he described in general terms on Friday how and why commanders can assert authority over civilians, including contractors, dependents and government employees.

The authority is based on the commanders’ responsibilities to maintain readiness, ensure force protection and protect often-delicate bilateral relations, Bloom said.

Bloom said there isn’t necessarily a specific Department of Defense directive that outlines how and when commanders can restrict civilians.

Instead, the authority is based on court cases relating to previous commanders’ restrictions.

The result, he said, is simple: to protect forces, maintain readiness and preserve bilateral relationships, commanders can create reasonable rules that apply to everyone assigned to their command.

“It has to be a narrowly drawn set of prohibitions,” he said. “If there is specific conduct that is aggravating the relationships between the two countries” then a commander can restrict that conduct.

The same applies to restrictions designed to protect forces and maintain readiness.

In 2004, U.S. Forces Korea Commander Gen. Leon LaPorte extended a curfew in South Korea to civilians, based on threats received by the State Department. The curfew, he said at the time, ensured readiness and helped protect USFK personnel.

It was later repealed. Nine U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees sued USFK for back pay to cover the times they were restricted under the curfew and therefore in a “state of readiness” — a condition under which they are due payment, according to their contract.

The lawsuit didn’t contest LaPorte’s mandate specifically.

A commander’s authority over dependents and civilians is not as great as the “virtually absolute” authority over military members, Bloom said. But commanders have a variety of tools to ensure compliance by civilians, from restricting access to base services to sending a dependent home or revoking command sponsorship. Each command has its own ways of dealing with any infraction, he said.

“It goes through whatever review that the base has,” he said.


Link Posted: 1/25/2006 6:58:07 PM EDT
Ill say no...... Even if he can, ill say no...
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 7:06:14 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FieroLoki:
Ill say no...... Even if he can, ill say no...



+1 if im nonmil then he is just another person as far as authority over me goes.
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 7:07:11 PM EDT
nope. I had a colonel for a dad. It didnt work
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 7:07:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By wump:

Originally Posted By FieroLoki:
Ill say no...... Even if he can, ill say no...



+1 if im nonmil then he is just another person as far as authority over me goes.



I say the same for civilian cops, but my CoC encourages them to arrest me if I do anything wrong outside the gates. Civilian cops can suck my ass, respect my authority!!!
Link Posted: 1/25/2006 7:14:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/25/2006 7:16:30 PM EDT by PaDanby]
Hell yes he can. How many of you have a clue on what a SOFA status civilian is?

If you don't know what that is, and you didn't pick up on who and where they were talking about then proceed back and read it again.

Status Of Forces Agreement is the treaty between the US and the host government where we have a military base and or forces stations. That treaty lays out who is responsible for the discipline of both the military members, their families and civilian employees, legal responsibilities of both governments, etc.

If necessary he can restrict them to base, or order their sponsor to restrict them to base, stay out of Exchanges, not go various places, etc. Either directly or through the sponsor. If necessary he can send the dependents home if they don't follow the rules.

In the case of Federal Civil Service employees who work for him, almost as much as a service member. Their pay issues are a contract issue, most are covered by a contract and/or a labor agreement. One of those should cover emergent circumstances.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 3:09:42 AM EDT
My experience as a civilian contractor is that you fork around with the CO's orders, there are telephone calls made and the next thing you know, the fork-up is on his way home, career kaput.

Happened to a guy out at Beale AFB a couple of years ago. He came back to Huntsville and was laid off within weeks.

Merlin
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 3:16:14 AM EDT

Originally Posted By PaDanby:
Hell yes he can. How many of you have a clue on what a SOFA status civilian is?

If you don't know what that is, and you didn't pick up on who and where they were talking about then proceed back and read it again.

Status Of Forces Agreement is the treaty between the US and the host government where we have a military base and or forces stations. That treaty lays out who is responsible for the discipline of both the military members, their families and civilian employees, legal responsibilities of both governments, etc.

If necessary he can restrict them to base, or order their sponsor to restrict them to base, stay out of Exchanges, not go various places, etc. Either directly or through the sponsor. If necessary he can send the dependents home if they don't follow the rules.

In the case of Federal Civil Service employees who work for him, almost as much as a service member. Their pay issues are a contract issue, most are covered by a contract and/or a labor agreement. One of those should cover emergent circumstances.



Yup.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 3:23:44 AM EDT
The thing is most civilians overseas who aren't DOD employees are what is known as Command Sponsored. Meaning you are there because the Commander allows you to be. Sort of like when you were growing up and Mom and Dad said "As long as you're living under my roof, it's my rules." If you don't like the rules, you can go back to CONUS and wait the one or two years until hubby or wifey completes the tour. How many of you saying no are current or former .mil or .gov employees? Overseas Military Commanders and Post Commanders have a lot of authority over what goes on within their Command, and what goes on on their Post. Key is they are there because they allow them to be. It is a privilege to have your family with you, not a right; a privilege which can be taken away if it serves the best interest of the Military, the Post, or the Command.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 3:32:55 AM EDT

Originally Posted By CFII:
nope. I had a colonel for a dad. It didnt work



ditto
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 3:41:26 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bostonterrier97:
Can U.S. military commanders assert authority over civilians?




Happens EVERYDAY at EVERY base around the world. Including the U.S
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 4:02:23 AM EDT
It seems that some people are confusing the thread title with what the article is talking about.

In the US outside of a military base, no. Military CO has no authority to order civilians around except in Martial Law situations.

Outside of the US, outside of US .mil bases the same applies.

But on base, whether inside or outside the US, the CO has authority to tell you to do many things and to keep you from doing many things. Mostly, I believe, he can simply kick you off the base if you choose not to cooperate. But more likely that will be after you contact your lawyer from detention center. Or the hospital if you chose to argue with the MP's.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 4:03:30 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 5:23:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 5:41:35 AM EDT
I'd bet that he can make it rough for the civilians sponser if they don't follow the rules.

Then there is always the ability to kick someone off of the base.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 9:45:12 AM EDT

I'd bet that he can make it rough for the civilians sponser if they don't follow the rules.


Even here in CONUS you can get in trouble for dependents misbehaving on post. I even know of one guy who's family remained in post quarters while he did a tour in Korea that got in trouble for stuff they did while he was gone.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 9:47:21 AM EDT
The key is SOFA status, because of treaties between the host nation and us to preclude you falling under the host nations laws for many offenses you full under US laws.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 2:27:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By STLRN:
The key is SOFA status, because of treaties between the host nation and us to preclude you falling under the host nations laws for many offenses you full under US laws.



There ya go.
If you're a DOD employee, you will fall under the restrictions of the base/community/theater commander.
If you're a family member and you're there on "command sponsorship", you better toe the line. CS allows dependants to stay in military housing, use military facilities and receive military benefits.

If you're just a family member who's not CS'd, you're on your own.
Get in trouble, though, and it may fall on the soldier's head.

I had a soldier who's CS'd wife was always causing hell.
Drunk in public, showing up at the unit and screaming for her husband.
The best day of his life was the day I revoked her CS and sent here home.
After that, he was a model soldier and made his E-5.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 2:59:32 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jame_Retief:
It seems that some people are confusing the thread title with what the article is talking about.

In the US outside of a military base, no. Military CO has no authority to order civilians around except in Martial Law situations.

Outside of the US, outside of US .mil bases the same applies.

But on base, whether inside or outside the US, the CO has authority to tell you to do many things and to keep you from doing many things. Mostly, I believe, he can simply kick you off the base if you choose not to cooperate. But more likely that will be after you contact your lawyer from detention center. Or the hospital if you chose to argue with the MP's.



ummm sometimes wrong, unless you are talking about civilians with no military/DoD/.gov attachment, unless the Department of State orders a Noncombatant Evacuation Order. Then you get to do what you are told, or you just might not get on the plane. And there have been SOFA agreements in the past which included non.gov US citizens.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 3:03:36 PM EDT
Ask the folks in NOLA.
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 3:44:35 PM EDT
When we had the C-130 crash here the Military came in, they took all control. As a EMS person I had to get approval for anything we did at the site. Want to argue ask the local PD lewy that questioned the authority. He was in the local jail for a few hours untill they got it worked out. BTW the lewy was a asshole so we didn't care
Link Posted: 1/26/2006 7:01:00 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Jame_Retief:
It seems that some people are confusing the thread title with what the article is talking about.

In the US outside of a military base, no. Military CO has no authority to order civilians around except in Martial Law situations.

Outside of the US, outside of US .mil bases the same applies.

But on base, whether inside or outside the US, the CO has authority to tell you to do many things and to keep you from doing many things. Mostly, I believe, he can simply kick you off the base if you choose not to cooperate. But more likely that will be after you contact your lawyer from detention center. Or the hospital if you chose to argue with the MP's.



Well, I had the pleasure of helping establish a National Defense Area in the conus, outside of a military establishment, no martial law in place. I was briefed on the procedure plenty of times cause I convoyed nukes. This case was a bomber crash on private land.

Even had a little NDA advisement card I carried in my wallet next to my Miranda/Art 2 rights card.

Basically, I had to introduce myself to Mr and Mrs Jones, tell them I am establishing an NDA on their property, and and ask for their permission to use their land/home/whatever. I really wanted to get that permission, but if they declined, tough shit and get out of my way, I have a mission to accomplish. They want to argue or get stupid, I've got a heavily armed assault force standing right behind me.

The couple in this case played it smart. They rented the USAF almost everything they owned, for as long as as we needed it. They probably cleared $30,000 in rent for 3 weeks of inconvienience, and the USAF replaced every item that received even the slightest damage. I'll bet they're still collecting $$$ for loss of use of the land, because of jet-fuel contamination.


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