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45 A.F. L. Rev. 303 (1998)
Free Speech in the Military Community: Striking a Balance Between Personal Rights and Military Necessity

handle is hein.journals/airfor45 and id is 309 raw text is: Free Speech in the Military Community:
Striking a Balance Between Personal Rights
and Military Necessity
The United States government should not engage in
foreign wars for the purpose of protecting access to crude oil,
and if soldiers are asked to participate in such a war they should
refuse to fight. Women should never be permitted in a combat
zone, but maybe homosexual men should not be discharged.
President Clinton's handling of Bosnia proves that he is
incompetent to lead the military; he's a draft-dodger anyway.
Someone should tell Congress that it ought to give airmen a pay
raise instead of wasting money on-base beautification projects.1
If a civilian read aloud the preceding statement in Lafayette Park, the
government would almost undoubtedly be without the authority to sanction
him. But what if the speaker was a civilian shouting outside the gates of
Andrews Air Force Base? The Chief-of-Staff of the Air Force addressing a
banquet hall full of military personnel? An airman speaking to fellow airmen
in his dormitory? A lieutenant in a letter to the editor of the Air Force Times?
Does the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) prohibit these statements
or does the military member have a First Amendment free speech right? When
should a commander be advised to initiate actions against a member and what
type of sanction should be imposed?
The First Amendment's freedom of speech clause2 has long posed
unique challenges to the military community. Active duty military members
* Captain Carr (B.S., United States Air Force Academy, J.D., Harvard Law School, M.P.P.,
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University) is an Assistant Staff Judge
Advocate at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. The author would like to thank
Professor Fred Schauer, Frank Stanton Professor of the First Amendment, John F. Kennedy
School of Government, for the insightful comments and helpful suggestions he conveyed during
the supervision of this article. The author would also like to thank Andre Barry, Jamison
Colburn, Amy Kroe, Douglas Kysar, and Ken Ludwig for reviewing earlier drafts of this
This statement is a compilation of comments made by military personnel either in the cases
discussed within this article or overheard by the author during the last eight years. It is
provided to facilitate the following discussion and in no way represents the views or opinions
of the author.
2 The First Amendment provides that Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom
of speech... U.S. CONST. amend I.

Free Speech Challenges - 303

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