What Does UA Stand for in the Military? (All Explained)

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

what does ua stand for in the military

There are a lot of military terms and abbreviations that an ordinary citizen does not understand—for example, UA.

What does UA stand for in the military? In military terms, UA means “Unauthorized Absence.”

It describes an unauthorized absence of a military member who exits their designated mission, post, or duty without prior permission or authorization.

In this article, we’ll tackle more about UA, its usage, significance, and consequences, in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Defining UA in the Military


As mentioned above, the military acronym UA meaning in the military world, is “Unauthorized Absence.” It is considered a severe offense by all the U.S. military branches.

If a military member fails to report for duty or is absent without proper authorization, they will be given a UA status. Also, UA is breaking the law against UCMJ Article 86.

Consequences of Unauthorized Absence

Once an active military member happens to UA, an arrest and a court martial are possible.

Here are the consequences for military members who did UA and AWOL (Absences Without Leave) under Article 86 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

1. The Military Member Abandons an Assigned Service Location or Fails to Report for Duty.


  • Punishment: A 1-month imprisonment and ⅔ of monthly’s income will be taken.

2. The Military Member Failed to Be Present From the Assigned Unit, Job Station, or Institution.


  • Punishment: For the accused active service member AWOL for up to 3 days, their one month salary will be cut around ⅔ of it. There will also be one month of imprisonment.
  • For absences for more than three days to 3o days, they will be imprisoned for six months, and there will be ⅔ cut from their six months’ salary.
  • In some cases, military members with absences for over 30 days can be subjected to a dishonorable discharge, total withdrawal of salary and allowances, and one 0r more years of imprisonment.

3. The Military Member is Absent in Order to Avoid Field Drills or Military Operations.


  • Punishment: Imprisonment for six months, will not receive pay, dishonorable discharge.

4. The Military Members Left Their Guard Post on Duty.


  • Punishment: They will be subjected to 3 months of prison and confiscation ⅔ of the month’s salary.
  • If found guilty, the military member will be imprisoned for six months, dishonorable discharge, and their salary will be confiscated.



AWOL (Absence Without Leave) and UA (Unauthorized Absence) are military slang that refers to an army member leaving their duty without prior notice or approved leave.

AWOL is commonly used in the Air Force, Space Force, and the Army. While the term “Unauthorized Absence (UA)” is used in the Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps.


By now, you already have the answer to your question: “What does UA stand for in the military?”

For civilians understanding military abbreviations like UA can be very beneficial, especially for military members.

The term “unauthorized absence” has essential military meanings that emphasize the value of duty and discipline.

As we’ve determined in the article, UA can have major implications following the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Military members should avoid getting a status of UA and preserve the integrity of their units by following military standards and keeping open communication.

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