UCMJ Article 87b

UCMJ Article 101

Improper Use of Countersign

The MCM states service members are subject to prosecution under Article 101 if they, during a time of war, disclose the parole or countersign to a person not authorized to receive it, or intentionally give an authorized individual an incorrect parole or countersign.

In order to be prosecuted for disclosing the parole or countersign to one not entitled to receive it, the prosecution must demonstrate during a time of war, the accused disclosed the parole or countersign to an individual who was not entitled to receive it. The individual may or may not be identified.

Prosecution for giving a parole or countersign different from that authorized requires during a time of war, the accused to knew the individual was authorized and required to receive a specific parole or countersign and the accused knowingly provided the individual with an incorrect parole or countersign.


Understanding Article 101 (Improper Use of Countersign) of the UCMJ

A countersign is a word, signal, or procedure handed down from the command at the principal headquarters to assist guards and sentinels in the identification of individuals authorized to pass through the lines during a time of war. It normally consists of a challenge and a password, signal, or procedure. A parole is the words used to check the countersign. It is given to those who are authorized to inspect guards and the commanders of guards.

Those who are entitled to receive the countersign and parole will vary depending upon the circumstances of war. The general or special orders given to the accused will be the primary determining factor in who is authorized for receipt of the parole and countersign and who is not authorized.

Intent, motive, negligence, mistake, and/or ignorance are not viable defenses and how the accused received the countersign or parole is irrelevant.


Maximum Possible Punishment for Violations of Article 101

Service members convicted of an Article 101 violation face a maximum possible punishment of death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.


How to you defend against Article 101 Improper Use of Countersign charges?

When you are facing the combined resources of the military as well as the current cultural climate, you need to be prepared to defend your career and your freedom. Crisp and Associates, LLC has a team of experienced trial attorneys who have won these cases. This team includes the firm’s founder, Jonathan Crisp, a highly respected former Army JAG with over 23 years of experience in military law and a sought-after speaker and lecturer on military law. Donald Gordon has litigated cases before the Discharge Review Board, the Board for Correction of Military Records, and the Board for Correction of Naval Records regarding a wide variety of matters and a diverse background of clients


If you or someone you know is facing Article 101 charges for Improper Use of Countersign, you need to speak with a Military defense attorney right away. Please call Crisp and Associates Military at 888-258-1653 for a free consultation.

View more UCMJ Articles.

Free Consultation Request