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Article 84 Effecting Unlawful Enlistment, Appointment, or Separation

Article 84 deals with persons who have helped another person gain appointment into or separation from Armed Forces despite the knowledge that the latter is ineligible. Like Article 83, fraudulent enlistment, separation, or appointment, this punitive article too aims to prevent servicemen from quitting the armed forces without valid cause or gaining entry into the armed forces without the necessary qualifications. However, unlike Article 83, this article deals with those persons who facilitate the enlistment or separation of unqualified/ ineligible persons. The accused under this charge is punished as seen fit in a court martial if the charges are conclusively proven against him. The elements of this violation of the UCM that the military prosecutor must prove under Article 84 are:

  • That the accused individual brought about or caused the enlistment, separation, or appointment of the ineligible person named in the charge.
  • That the latter is ineligible for this enlistment or separation as it is prohibited by regulation, law, or order.
  • That the person accused of violating Article 84 was aware that the latter was not eligible when the enlistment/ appointment or separation was carried out.

To learn more about this punitive article refer to the Manual for Courts Martial.

Explanation of Article 84 Effecting Unlawful Enlistment, Appointment, or Separation

When a person helps another to gain appointment to or separation from the armed forces despite knowing that he is ineligible for this, the former has acted against the UCMJ. He can be charged with violation of Article 84 provided the prosecution can establish that the ineligible person is prohibited by law from gaining such appointment or separation.

The purpose of Article 84 is very much similar to Article 83. Both of these aim at preventing and deterring persons from gaining entry into the armed forces without the right qualifications. These Articles also ensure that a serviceman cannot quit from the armed forces unless he has ample, justifiable, and valid reasons for doing so. By punishing those enabling appointment or separation of persons who are ineligible to do, Article 84 ensures that people are deterred from aiding and abetting others to carry out this offense.

Points to Note about Article 84:

  • This article deals with the person who has effected the appointment or separation of the ineligible person. The accused himself may be fully qualified for his appointment or separation, but his complicity in an ineligible person's enlistment or separation is deemed an offense under this article.
  • The person who has gained enlistment or separation should be ineligible for it in the eyes of law.
  • The prosecution needs to prove that the accused was aware of the person's ineligibility at the time of separation, enlistment or appointment.
  • The prosecution also needs to prove that the accused played a key role, causing or bringing about the enlistment/ separation or appointment of the ineligible person.
  • Circumstantial evidence is usually deemed admissible in Article 84 cases.

Maximum Punishment for Article 84 Violation

If the accused is found guilty of violating Article 84, the maximum punishment granted shall include dishonorable discharge, confinement for a period of five years and forfeiture of all allowances and pay.

Examples of Article 84 Violations

Article 84 may apply in a variety of situations. In the United States v. Hightower, 5 M.J. 717 (A.C.M.R. 1978) trial, a recruiter was charged with violation of this punitive article. He had helped applicants, who had previously failed the entrance exams, take them again in different jurisdictions. The recruiter was charged with violating Article 84 by effecting unlawful enlistments into the armed forces.

In a more recent case, United States v. White, 36 M.J. 284 (C.M.A. 1993), the accused was charged with effecting unlawful enlistments by means of providing applicants with high school diplomas that were not genuine. In this case, the accused was charged with conspiracy to effect unlawful enlistments by participating in a scam that was initiated with this objective.

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