When an enlisted man or woman is given an order, he or she is expected to abide by it. There are any number of reasons why orders are given and a surprising number of reasons why an enlisted individual might defy any given order. It is important to understand that failure to follow orders could result in significant consequences under military law. Most enlisted individuals understand this, but it can sometimes be difficult to follow orders that are not specific and precise in nature.
For example, The Washington Times recently reported that the Pentagon Force Protection Agency has sent a warning to members of the U.S. military. This warning indicates that due to the fact that terrorists affiliated with ISIL wish to attack Pentagon workers, workers must alter their routines and otherwise work to mask their identities. For some, this kind of warning may be interpreted as an order.
The agency’s warning specifically states that, “Recent threats, revealed through various intelligence and law enforcement sources, indicate that terrorists, directed or inspired by the Islamic States of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), view members of U.S. military members (SIC) and law enforcement officers as legitimate targets for attacks.” The warning then goes on to list numerous ways that military members can work to guard their identities and alter their routines.
If you are bound to follow orders and are unclear about whether or not any given communication is indeed an order, seek clarification when possible. Failure to do so could lead you to unintentionally defy orders and to be compelled to deal with the consequences of such action.
Source: Washington Times, “U.S. military ordered to hide identities, change routines to avoid terrorist attacks,” Rowan Scarborough, Oct. 29, 2014