How to Fight
Enlisted Administrative Separation
what is an enlisted administrative separation board?
An enlisted administrative separation board (also called a chapter board or adsep hearing) is a formal legal proceeding where a hearing panel of three members determines whether the military member should be separated from the military service.
The board normally takes place in a large conference room or a courtroom. The command is represented by a legal officer or JAG who will present the documents and witnesses relevant to establishing a reason for separation, that the member should be separated, and a characterization of service (Honorable, General, or Other Than Honorable).
The board makes its findings using the preponderance of the evidence standard (51%). Strict legal rules of evidence do not apply – statements, affidavits, police reports, command investigations, and telephonic testimony are all admissible without any foundation. The board (normally consisting of 3 members) makes it findings and recommendations by majority vote.
why would an enlisted member face an administrative separation board?
An enlisted administrative separation board is a means for a commander to involuntarily separate an enlisted member prior to the members enlistment and with a discharge less favorable than Honorable.
Though each service has its own rules, Department of Defense Instruction 1332.14 governs all DoD enlisted administrative separations and provides the reasons that commanders can initiate administrative separations. These reasons include drug abuse (positive urinalysis) or any drug related offense, commission of a serious offense, a pattern of misconduct, alcohol abuse rehabilitation failure, civilian conviction, multiple physical fitness assessment failures, loss of a security clearance, and other reasons.
The process starts by the commander notifying the member that he or she is being recommended for involuntary separation. The notification will provide: the reason, or basis, for separation (sometimes more than 1), the least favorable characterization of service (Honorable, General, or Other Than Honorable), and the member’s rights including whether the member is entitled to an administrative separation board. Some members are NOT entitled to a board and may only submit written matters to rebut the recommendation for administrative separation.
Do I need a lawyer for my administrative separation?
Yes! Any military member who has been notified of administrative separation proceedings should immediately contact an experienced military administrative separation lawyer AT THE FIRST indication that the commander will be initiating administrative separation.
Discharge Board proceedings are serious matters. If discharged, most members will not be able to ever serve again in any branch, may receive a less than Honorable discharge, lose veterans benefits, and otherwise face difficulty in the civilian world where a military service characterization matters (think applying to state or federal government jobs). There also can be adverse impacts on security clearances and base access.
A military Discharge Board (Administrative Separation Board) lawyer can challenge the reason for separation. Remember, the command has to prove the reason for separation by 51%; a skilled defense lawyer can attack the command’s case and present a case that challenges whether the reason has been proven. If the board finds that the evidence does NOT prove the reason for separation, the military member, with a few exceptions, stays in the military.
Also, even where the member has admitted to the reason for separation, such as drug abuse, a skilled Discharge Board lawyer can present a case for a more favorable discharge. Remember, a discharge has lasting consequences and there is no automatic upgrade. In fact, less than 5% of applications to upgrade discharges are granted by the services!
An Administrative Separation Board lawyer does all of this by speaking to witnesses, gathering documents, and preparing the member to address the board.
Worldwide Military Defense
Mr. Korody has the experience, training, and skills to ensure that your rights as a member of the military and a citizen of the United States are protected. He spent close to a decade on active duty defending and prosecuting members of the military and advising commanders on how to dispose of misconduct. Mr. Korody is one of the elite few who has been certified by the Judge Advocate General as a Specialist in Military Justice Litigation. He has handled hundreds of General and Special Courts-Martial, Article 32 Preliminary Hearings, Non-Judicial Punishment (Article 15) hearings and appeals, and administrative separation hearings and appeals.