Military Law

Military Law is a distinct legal system to which members of armed forces are subject. Most countries have special additional laws, and often a legal system, which are applicable to members of their military but not usually to civilians. Military law deals with issues such as; procedures for military discipline, what is (and what isn’t) a lawful command, obligations for service personnel.


Military Law can also be imposed on the civilian population instead of normal civil laws. In this instance it may be called martial law, and is often declared in times of emergency, war, or civil unrest. Most countries have restrictions on when martial law can be declared, and how long it can remain.

Military Law in the United States is controlled by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (Title 10 United States Code, Chapter 47) and implemented by the Manual for Courts-Martial, an Executive order issued by the President of the United States in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the United States armed forces.

Military Leaves

In the United States Military in the United States armed forces, leave is permission to be away from one’s unit for a specific period of time.


Under normal circumstance, all personnel are granted 30 days of leave per year. This time is usually used for vacations and other extended time periods away from the service that are longer than three days or need to be taken in the middle of the week. Leave is accumulated at the rate of 2.5 days per month. A member’s leave is annotated is the monthly Leave and Earnings Statement

Leave and Passes

Shorter periods of personal time away from the service are usually covered by passes, which are normally granted for normal off-duty hours in which one is traveling farther than the distance limit the Unit Commander has set in place. A service member may travel up to 250 miles on a 3 day pass and 400 miles on a 4 day pass. Passes can also be awarded to service members for particular achievements. Although passes may be taken for up to 4 days, 3 day passes are granted on most occasions. When 3 day passes are awarded, they are most commonly taken over a weekend giving the service member one non-duty day of time off.

Different Types of Leave

The four most common types of leave are: Ordinary leave which is regular chargeable leave time, emergency leave which is processed more quickly due to an emergency situation but still treated as chargeable leave, convalescent leave which is non-chargeable and only allowed with a doctor’s signature that states the service member cannot return to duty for an extended period of time, permissive TDY, which is non-chargeable and is only used while traveling between stations while using their leave for government related purposes service members using PTDY are not charged while on leave but are also not granted travel pay.

Leave Carries Over Year to Year

Leave time will “roll over” from year to year. A service member may carry up to 60 days of leave before he or she must take it. Leave in excess of 60 days is known as “Use or Lose”, if the service member does not use the excess leave by October 1st he or she will lose it. Under certain circumstances, the use or lose threshold may be extended to 80 days, if the member is unable to take leave due to duty requirements, usually because of a deployment. If a service member leaves the military without having used all his or her leave time, the unused days are paid for at the member’s regular rate of pay upon separation. Conversely, though the situation is less common, pay will be deducted as excess leave on separation if too many days were taken.