Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are civil liberties?

What is the Army Civil Liberties program?

What do I do if I feel that my civil liberties have been violated?

Do Army Service Members and DA civilians have civil liberties?

Q: What are civil liberties?

A: Civil Liberties are fundamental rights and freedoms protected by the Constitution of the United States. Most of these are included in the Bill of Rights. They include: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to peaceful assembly, the right to petition the government, the right to bear arms, freedom against unreasonable search and seizure, the right to due process for deprivation of life, liberty, or property, the right against self-incrimination, and other “non-enumerated” rights such as that of privacy.

Civil liberties are different from civil rights. Civil rights are statutory rights passed by Congress (laws) which require the government to actively protect individuals from discrimination by public or private entities. Civil liberties, on the other hand, are restraints on government to keep it from interfering with the individual freedoms described above.

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Q: What is the Army Civil Liberties program?

A: The Army Civil Liberties program is designed to protect Army Service Members, employees, and the public from infringement on their civil liberties by the Department of the Army or any of its members. The Secretary of the Army has appointed a member of the Senior Executive Service as the Army Civil Liberties Officer, and a senior Army civilian to serve as the Army POC. The Army program must meet the requirements of Department of Defense Instruction 1000.29, which directs each Service (and DoD Component) to do the following: consider privacy and civil liberties in its regulations, policies and procedures, and activities, have adequate procedures for complaints of violations and prevention of reprisals, submit periodic reports to the Defense Privacy, Civil Liberties, and Transparency Division (DPCLTD), and provide training to Soldiers and civilian employees regarding the protection of privacy and civil liberties. These DoD requirements are a result of a law passed by Congress, Public Law 110—53, which requires the DoD and several other federal agencies to establish an active program for protection of privacy and civil liberties.

To date, the Army has drafted a regulation which is being prepared for formal staffing and publication. We have given briefings to senior leadership, both uniformed and civilian, to familiarize them with the requirements of Congress and the Department of Defense. We will soon post initial workforce and complaint processor training on the Training Page. We are developing future training products for workforce awareness, supervisors, complaint processors and senior leaders which will be available on the web. We have set up a network of POCs throughout the Army so that each major command has a Civil Liberties POC. Major commands can designate POCs at internal organizational levels as required to implement the program. We review all new and revised Army publications, approximately 100 to date, for civil liberties implications. We have drafted and staffed Army complaint procedures, and have reported civil liberties complaints to the DPCLTD since 2011. The Department of the Army Inspector General has had a large role in the processing and reporting of complaints, along with the SJA staffs. Finally, the site you are on now is a part of our communications and outreach for the Civil Liberties program. We are planning to evolve to a public web site when funds become available. For assistance with Army Privacy Program requirements and issues you may contact the Army Privacy Office at: E-mail:

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Q: What do I do if I feel that my civil liberties have been violated?

A: You can file a civil liberties complaint. Currently, the Army Inspector General system is one effective way to bring a violation of civil liberties to the attention of the appropriate leadership. The Army Inspector General web site provides the locations and telephone numbers of the nearest offices where someone may file a complaint. The Dept. of Army complaint form is found at

Another venue for civil liberties complaints is the legal assistance office of the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA).

In cases involving religious matters, individuals may seek advisement and support with their unit chaplain as an appropriate staff officer to receive informal complaints. The chaplain may then maintain confidentiality with the individual, and advise them to make a formal complaint through the existing systems of both the Equal Opportunity and Inspector General offices.

Finally, a supervisor or member of an organization or command may be the initial recipient of a complaint. This individual should notify the SJA (or other supporting legal advisor), and/or the Civil Liberties Point of Contact for that organization.

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Q: Do Army Service Members and DA civilians have civil liberties?

A: Yes. Civil liberties protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of Army Service Members and DA civilian personnel. However, Service Members and to some degree government civilians must exercise their civil liberties in a manner consistent with good order and discipline. This means the government may lawfully limit certain civil liberties, such as freedom of speech and association.

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