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The Military Commander and the Law is used as a deskbook for instruction at various commander courses at Air University. It also serves as a helpful reference guide for commanders in the field, providing general guidance and helping commanders to clarify issues and identify potential problem areas. Primary authority, much of which is cited in this edition, should first be carefully reviewed and used as the basis for action on specific cases.

The United States is founded upon the Constitution, the rule of law that stems from the Constitution, and the institutions designed to preserve and protect the law—including the armed forces. Our respect for the law is a reflection of our values
as a nation.

Military commanders hold a special position of authority under the law. Today’s commanders must make decisions in an environment of increasingly complex laws, rules, and regulations both nationally and internationally. The Military Commander and the Law is widely-recognized as a valued resource for leaders at every level and as a first-stop for commanders who need insight into the challenging legal issues that confront them. After reviewing the materials in this publication, a commander’s next stop is the local staff judge advocate, who will provide personal assistance resolving specific issues. Together, commanders and judge advocates are partners in safeguarding good order and protecting our Nation’s most-cherished freedoms.

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