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Army Active Enlisted Administrative Separation Actions and Boards

Dedicated Military Defense in Fort Campbell

Enlisted separations in the United States Army follow the guidelines of Army Regulation (AR) 635–200—Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations. Whether you are at your ETS date, retiring, or being separated for an allegation of misconduct, AR 635–5 controls. However, this section will discuss involuntary separations. An involuntary separation from the Army may have serious consequences that may have a severe impact on your benefits.

There are various chapters under AR 635–5 that can result in an involuntary separation:

  • Chapter 5: Separations for Convenience of the Government. This includes but is not limited to: involuntary separation due to parenthood (5–8); separation because of personality disorder (5–13); concealment of arrest record (5–14); and other designated physical or mental conditions (5–17).
  • Chapter 9: Alcohol or Other Drug Abuse Rehabilitation Failure
  • Chapter 10: Discharge in Lieu of Trial by Court-Martial
  • Chapter 11: Entry Level Performance and Conduct
  • Chapter 13: Separation for Unsatisfactory Performance. This includes a mandatory initiation of separation of Soldiers without medical limitations for have two consecutive failures of the Army physical fitness test (13–2e).
  • Chapter 14: Separation for Misconduct. This includes separation for:
    • A pattern of misconduct (14–12b)
    • Commission of a serious offense (14–12c)
      • A serious offense is an offense that would warrant a punitive discharge under the UCMJ (a bad conduct discharge or dishonorable discharge)
      • Abuse of illegal drugs is considers a serious offense (14–12c(2))
  • Chapter 18: Failure to Meet Weight Control Standards
  • Chapter 19: Qualitative Management Program

Protecting Those Facing ADSEP

The Soldier facing separation is called the “Respondent.” Any Soldier facing involuntary administrative separation is entitled to consult with legal representation. Enlisted Soldiers with six or more years of total active and reservice on the date of the initiation of recommendation for separation and Soldiers notified of the potential of an Other than Honorable characterization of service are entitled to hear their case heard by a board convened pursuant to AR 635–200.

Generally, an administrative separation boards is tasked with three primary questions:

  1. By a preponderance of the evidence, did the underlying misconduct occur?
  2. If the board finds that the underlying misconduct did occur, does it warrant separation from the United States Army?
  3. If the underlying misconduct does warrant separation, how should the Respondent’s service be characterized?

There are three characterizations of service that an administrative separation board may recommend: Honorable; General under Honorable, and Other than Honorable. Only the local general court-martial convening authority (a general responsible for your installation) may appoint an administrative separation board with the authority to recommend an Other than Honorable characterization of service.

The ADSEP Board Process

The board is generally made up of three voting members, and majority of the board will be commissioned or warrant officers. For the board, at least one member of the board must be of the rank major (O-4) or higher. If an enlisted member is appointed to the board, they will be of the rank of E-7 or higher and they must out rank to the respondent. The senior member of the board will be the Board President. If the respondent is a member of a minority group or a female, the Respondent may request in writing to have a member of the same minority group or a female respectively serve on the board if reasonably available.

The Government attorney—called the Recorder—presents evidence to the board relevant to the allegations for which the Respondent was notified. This can be in the form of documentary evidence or witness testimony. Witness testimony can be from previously written statements, telephonic, or in person testimony. Once the Recorder finishes entering evidence, the Respondent has the opportunity to present evidence in rebuttal, mitigation, and extenuation.

Enlisted Administrative Separation Defense

The Respondent has no burden to present any evidence, and the Recorder must prove the underlying misconduct by preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). If witnesses are presented for telephonic or in person testimony, the opposing counsel may cross examine that witness. Board members may also ask questions of the witnesses. Following the presentation of evidence, the Recorder presents argument followed by the Respondent’s Counsel. Following argument, the board closes for deliberations on the three above questions and votes on findings. The board will then announce the findings. The GCMCA that appointed the board is the final approval authority, but they cannot approve a lesser disposition recommended by the board and in some cases may provide a better disposition.

Recent Case Results

  • Abusive Sexual Contact Penalties Reduced
  • Abusive Sexual Contact Career Saved
  • Administrative Separation Board Honorable Discharge
  • Administrative Separation Board Honorable Discharge
  • Cruelty & Maltreatment and Assault with a Firearm Charges Dismissed
  • Do-It-Yourself Move Fraud Avoided Separation Action
  • Domestic Violence and Assault Not Guilty
  • Illegal Drug Use Case Dismissed
  • Improper Oversight and Accountability Charge Dismissed
  • Rape & Sexual Assault Full Acquittal
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