A possible military punishment?

I’m writing a book set in the 2050’s, essentially the run-up and first few battles of WW III, from the point of the Brits. So, need a bit of help on whether this would be a legal military punishment if someone (essentially a royal French brat) was being just a bit of an idiot, without actually committing a specific offence. (More specifically: he comes into the possession of valuable intelligence, his direct CO tells him to go wake the Captain, he asks her WHY despite it being blindingly obvious) I’ve heard this MIGHT have been a punishment in American forces—could someone confirm?

A soldier/sailor/airman is ordered by his superior to “go to the Provo and tell him to go fuck himself”. Disobeying a lawful order is punishable—but verbally assaulting a superior officer, especially the Provost Sergeant [aka the soldier responsible for discipline] is equally punishable. The soldier has no choice but to commit an offence and be punished for it.

Would this be legal under British, or even American, military/naval practice?

Punishment? The brat would be given a look - or told outright - to Just F***ing Do It.

Yeah, the first one is not disobeying, just not knowing when is a good time to ask questions about orders and when not.

The second isn’t lawful, the superior would get in big trouble.

Disobeying a “lawful” order is a specific offence. The sensible soldier would stand rigidly to attention, and say “Cap’t Smith ordered me to tell you to …”.

It would be a pretty poor army that allowed such silly nonsense. The “Royal Brat” would find himself posted to somewhere unsavory, and officers who gave such orders would find themselves in difficulties.

The whole idea is he’s an Engineer Lt. in Cosmic Command and ONLY an Engineer Lt.—not a damn clue about ‘this whole military thing’. He finds a (broken) mobile phone that belongs to the Turkish ambassador, with tons of classified stuff on it. Being an engineer, he does what he’s paid to do and fixes it, shows the chief engineer, and her jaw drops. He asks her why she’s acting so “weird”, and she gets pissed off, tells him to “go tell the Captain to go fuck himself”.

Would this be a lawful order, and could he get disciplined for not following through on said order?

Sorry, should have been more clear—he’s not questioning the order (that’s given afterwards), but rather WHY the intelligence (a broken phone he repaired, by coincidence belonging to the Turkish ambassador) is intelligence.

You think we’re not allowed to ask questions in the American military? How would people learn anything?

What does the Captain have to do with any of this?

It would also be a pretty poor soldier who thinks that a casual comment to “go fuck himself” is an order which must be carried out.
“Carry that box to the warehouse” is an order. “Do twenty push-ups” is an order.
“Tell him to go fuck himself” is not.
To the OP: If you are writing a book about the army, please try to make your characters believable.
I assume that you have never served in uniform, and never known anyone who has- So you have some strange ideas about soldiers. Soldiers are not robots; they don’t blindly follow orders without using their brain. Soldiers are just like you: intelligent,thinking human beings. Relationships between military officers and their men is similar in many ways to the relationship at work between any boss and his workers.
If your boss at Microsoft told you to go tell Bill Gates to fuck himself, would you take him literally?

What is a Chief Engineer? To me (former US Army member) that is a positional title, sort of like First Sergeant or Company Commander and not an actual rank like Master Sergeant or Captain.

How accurately are you trying to base your fictional future military on today’s military. The person in charge of disciple, for very specific functions or organizations is called Sergeant-At-Arms. This is usually a ceremonial position and can be occupied by anyone of any rank or position within the organization.

The Provost Marshal is an officer and is the “Chief of Police” for any given US Army base, responsible for general law enforcement and criminal investigation and usually base security.

This would not be or result in a punishment for the engineer, and the one being stupid is the chief engineer. If she says ‘go tell the captain to fuck off’, no one is going to take that as an order, they’re going to think she’s cursing about something or making a reference and ask for clarification. If she does say ‘I order to to go tell the captain to fuck off’, then all he has to do is go to the captain and tell him that she gave such a moronic order, and she will be the one getting disciplined for not respecting superior officers and giving bad orders. In general, someone would be punished for an action, either the order to do that action is an illegal order (and therefore doesn’t have to be followed) or the order is a defense to being punished for the action, and any punishment would fall on the person giving the order.