Just to put “undue command influence” in clear terms, I once again called on Gladius to explain it, as he is well-qualified to speak to questions of the law, both civilian and military, and I hope he doesn’t mind me divulging he served as an officer in the US Army. Here’s how he explained undue command influence:
“When a command authority, such as a 2-star division commander, assigns an officer to investigate a major concern under his or her 15-6 authority, that commander should not and must not dictate to the investigator what the expected outcome of the investigation should be.
For instance, “Colonel, I’m assigning you to investigate the allegations against Corporal Jones. Make sure that low life stands trial for his crimes. We need to make an example of him.” The General has now told the Colonel what the outcome of the investigation should be. Better to have said, “Colonel, I’m assigning you to investigate Corporal Jones. I want to make sure you have all the resources and authority you need to conduct a thorough investigation.” That statement has no indication of what the outcome should be
Recent problems at the Air Force Academy is a good example. The Air Force leadership told the investigators to go after certain individuals, to make an example. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force made statements to that effect, about what he would and would not tolerate.
Same with the prosecution of the NCOs down at Lackland regarding sex with recruits. Several recent examples exist where general officers made speeches or statements that presupposed the outcome or guilt of the subject of the investigations.
Command influence is the life of the military. By nature, commanders influence. If they didn’t we wouldn’t have a military; we’d have a club. Undue command influence is outside the proper chain of command communications. When a senior officer, either intentionally or carelessly, makes statements or takes actions to influence, persuade or oppress a junior officer in the performance of his or her fact-finding or trial duties, that is undue command influence. The influence can be in the form of direct instructions to the subordinate, instructions through the subordinate’s chain of command, or statements and actions done in such a manner that the influence is clearly directed at the outcome of the subordinate’s duties. On the other hand, if there is a subordinate unit that is failing to perform to standard, counseling of that subordinate command to improve, replacing that failed commandeer and instructing his/her replacement to perform, is not undue command influence.”
Here’s a good website: http://usmilitary.about.com/library/weekly/aa103000d.htm
Thanks Gladius for that excellent explanation. Of course, this Bergdahl situation will present new challenges and hopefully we can count on this obtuse CINC to rein in his mouthpieces and let the military justice system handle this matter – fairly, impartially and without undue command influence. The wise thing for this administration, not noted for its discipline or sense, would be to duct tape the mouths of all those know-it-all women, from Valerie Jarrett and Susan Rice on down to that twit, Marie Harf, at the State Dept. ALL matters concerning SGT Bergdahl should be referred to the Pentagon, with only a few, well-briefed spokespeople assigned to field those questions. But what do I know, I spent most of my life being a homemaker, lol.