Reduction in rank

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Reduction in rank may refer to three separate concepts:

  • In military law, a reduction in rank or degradation[1] is a demotion in military rank as punishment for a crime or wrongdoing, imposed by a court-martial or other authority. It may be imposed in conjunction with other punishments, such as a bad conduct or dishonorable discharge, loss of wages, confinement to barracks, or imprisonment in a military prison.
  • Reduction in rank may also refer to the voluntary, non-punitive practice of taking a lower rank, often as part of joining another military unit or military service. For example, those who join the Special Air Service or Australian Special Air Service Regiment take the rank of trooper, often a lower rank than their previous rank but with greater pay, prestige, and responsibilities.
  • There is a reversion in rank after an officer has been temporarily promoted to a higher rank while occupying a position requiring that rank; the officer reverts to the permanent rank on vacating the position bearing the higher rank. In the US military this occurs most often to three- or four-star general or flag officers, who can be reduced in rank to no lower than their permanent rank of two stars. This occurs because three- and four-star ranks are always temporary ranks and are linked to their position's office. A three- or four-star officer could revert non-punitively to a lower rank because they no longer hold a position bearing the higher rank. Reversion of this type is less usual for lower US ranks as such temporary promotions are uncommon.


Reduction in rank (Latin gradus deiectio meaning position degradation) was a Roman military punishment.[2]

United States[edit]

The Uniform Code of Military Justice Subchapter III, non-judicial punishment, § 815. Article 15, commanding officer's non-judicial punishment, authorizes commanding officers to "in addition to or in lieu of admonition or reprimand" impose "reduction to the next inferior pay grade, if the grade from which demoted is within the promotion authority of the officer imposing the reduction or any officer subordinate to the one who imposes the reduction." Additionally, an officer of the grade of major, lieutenant commander, or above is authorized to impose "reduction to the lowest or any intermediate pay grade, if the grade from which demoted is within the promotion authority of the officer imposing the reduction or any officer subordinate to the one who imposes the reduction, but an enlisted member in a pay grade above E-4 may not be reduced more than two pay grades."

Uniform Code of Military Justice Subchapter VIII, Sentences, provides that:

(a) Unless otherwise provided in regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary concerned, a court-martial sentence of an enlisted member in pay grade above E-1, as approved by the convening authority, that includes--

(1) a dishonorable or bad-conduct discharge;
(2) confinement; or
(3) hard labor without confinement;
reduces that member to pay grade E1, effective on the date of that approval.
(b) If the sentence of a member who is reduced in pay grade under subsection (a) is set aside or disapproved, or, as finally approved does not include any punishment named in subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3), the rights and privileges of which he was deprived because of that reduction shall be restored to him and he is entitled to the pay and allowances to which he would have been entitled for the period the reduction was in effect, had he not been so reduced.


In other countries[edit]

In other countries as there is such a punishment and sometimes much more severe.It usually is assigned for serious crimes in peacetime and wartime.

Russian Empire and USSR[edit]

In the Russian Empire and in the USSR, most often it was a demotion in rank to private . In the Russian Empire to this punishment was added also other penalties such as beatings with whips, which were all the staff. Personnel lined up in formation, then each dealt one blow sentenced. Most often, this has led to the death of the convict from his injuries.

For example[edit]

Lieutenant-General Marquis Philip Osipovich Paulucci, being quartermaster General of the Caucasus army, on 3 November 1810, wrote in his diary: "the Tiflis infantry regiment non-commissioned officer Ermolaev, the former in the recruit depot when you split the party on the shelves, took the recruit 5 rubles brazenly. For any impermissible and intolerable service act, reducted thereof in the ordinary non-commissioned officer, require him to drive the rods through 500 people one time, and taken money from him to take away and give to a recruit. Flogging this very same to do tomorrow in 8 hours. This case put the body on view at the end of the Lord to the heads of regiments are strictly watched so that the lower ranks no one had injustices..."

Demoted in rank, with the exception only of occasions a great military feat, can get officer rank except by Highest permission about not reading an incurred penalty obstacle to the awards; to enter with the idea of this is permitted no sooner than after three years after a demotion (article 43). On the basis of article 60, 556, 634, and 727 kN. SV VII. military. post. demoted cannot be produced in the non-commissioned officers, not assigned to any trip, you don't leave and transferred to the reserve only with a special permission.


In the USSR, demotion in rank to private begin to apply immediately after the creation of the red army. As a rule punish either for unforgivable mistakes in the fighting which led to serious losses or tactical defeat, as well as for serious crimes. In the second case, a demotion in rank and file was not only punishment, usually for such crimes was punishable by imprisonment or even execution. During the second world war demoted in rank continued to bear his service in the penal divisions. After the second world war, such punishment usually meant dismissal from service and forfeiture of all military awards. Most often it was imposed for serious crimes which entail criminal liability up to the shooting. In modern Russia, in this respect, nothing has changed.

Post soviet Ukraine[edit]

December 22, 2015 were demoted in rank the commander of the voluntary battalion <<Donbass>> Konstantin Grishin better known as Semen Semenchenko. While all of the other punishments he received. The reason for the demotion in rank was the fact that he does not have the appropriate training and education to carry the title of Lieutenant.


For example, during the Third Reich, the SS officer Helmut Knochen was demoted in rank for the fact that during the coup attempt of 20 July 1944 did not have adequate resistance to the conspirators and got himself arrested.


External links[edit]