General order

From Academic Kids

In militaries, a general order is a published directive, originated by a commander, and binding upon all personnel under his command, the purpose of which is to enforce a policy or procedure unique to his unit's situation which is not otherwise addressed in applicable service regulations, military law, or public law. A general order has the force of law; it is an offense punishable by court martial or lesser military court to disobey one. What makes it a general order (as opposed to a direct order), is that the actor is not explicitly named, nor precisely that (or whom) which is to be acted upon. (See also standing order)


In the United States Marine Corps, a set of eleven general orders delineates the responsibilities of gateguards and sentries:

  1. To take charge of this post and all government property in view.
  2. To walk my post in a military manner, keeping always on the alert and observing everything that takes place within sight or hearing.
  3. To report all violations of orders I am instructed to enforce.
  4. To repeat all calls from posts more distant from the guardhouse than my own.
  5. To quit my post only when properly relieved.
  6. To receive, obey, and pass on to the sentry who relieves me all orders from the commanding officer, officer of the day, and officers and noncommissioned officers of the guard only.
  7. To talk to no one except in the line of duty.
  8. To give the alarm in case of fire or disorder.
  9. To call the corporal of the guard in any case not covered by instructions.
  10. To salute all officers and all colors and standards not cased.
  11. To be especially watchful at night, and during the time for challenging, to challenge all persons on or near my post and to allow no one to pass without proper authority.

In the United States Army, there are three general orders:

  1. I will guard everything within the limits of my post and quit my post only when properly relieved.
  2. I will obey my special orders and perform all my duties in a military manner.
  3. I will report violations of my special orders, emergencies, and anything not covered in my instructions to the commander of the relief.

A set of general orders, including the Prime Directive, has been established in Paramount Pictures' source documentation to govern the Starfleet organization in the Star Trek fictional universe (see also: Starfleet General Orders). An edition of it can be viewed at the following link:

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