First, a copy of the GOMOR (sometimes “GOMAR”) is presented to the Soldier along with a packet of evidence/information that the GOMOR is based on. The Soldier is given a chance to respond in writing through a “rebuttal.” Typically, this time is limited to only 7 calendar days from the date of service of the reprimand. Occasionally the issuing General Officer (GO) will allow a face-to-face open-door session, but most GOs do not. If open-door request is denied, the Soldier cannot demand one because there is no requirement to grant one. There is no board or other opportunity to advocate in person. The written rebuttal packet is reviewed by the Soldier’s chain of command, which makes recommendation, then staffed through the legal office. Finally, everything is presented to the GO for action. There is an art to responding to a GOMOR, and these rebuttal packets can have long lasting implications to strategy at a subsequent administrative separation board. For more information on how to respond, please review this post.

When an Army General Officer (GO) want to formally reprimand someone, the GO will issue a memorandum of reprimand (“GOMOR” or sometimes “GOMAR”). The GO’s legal office prepares the reprimand based on a file of evidence related to the misconduct. The reprimand is then given to the Soldier, who has a chance to file a rebuttal.  What the Soldier puts in that rebuttal is critical because it is the Soldier’s only opportunity to communicate the other side of the story, as there is no right to a board or hearing.  The rebuttal is reviewed by the legal office and the GO, who decides what the “filing determination” will be. For information on how to respond to a GOMOR, please review this post with informational video. The GOMOR/GOMAR can be filed permanently in the Soldier’s file at HRC, or locally, or even rescinded completely (torn up).

How you fight involuntary separation depends on many factors.  Are you enlisted or an officer?  Are being separated for misconduct?  How long have you been in? The answer to these questions will determine what process occurs. You may have the opportunity to present your case to a board, but sometimes you are limited to a written submission. For more information please review this post. The consequences of a military separation are extremely significant, and we highly recommend that you schedule a consultation if you have been notified that you may possibly be separated involuntarily.

If you are presented with a GOMOR (sometimes “GOMAR”) you have a small window of time to respond. You or your attorney will need to review the packet of evidence/information that the GOMOR is based on. Your opportunity to respond is done in writing through a “rebuttal”, also known as response matters. There is no board or other opportunity to present a face-to-face request for mercy. The Rebuttal is critical, and we recommend that you seek the advice of qualified legal counsel. Unfortunately, TDS generally does not provide counsel to assist with a GOMOR. On occasion base legal offices will review something (for grammar and typos) that the member writes, but these offices set low priority and will not write the response for the member. Base legal offices also will not solicit, collect, or edit memoranda of support or character letters to accompany rebuttal matters. For more on how to rebuttal a GOMOR, please see this post.

Military investigations are most often conducted by individual officers who are not professional investigators. They are initiated in response to some complaint or concern brought to the attention of a commander. That commander becomes a “appointing authority” by ordering an investigation. The investigating officer (“IO”) will meet with a legal advisor and review a guide on what to do, but otherwise likely has no training or knowledge on how to conduct the investigation. This raises significant concerns about their ability to properly gather facts and arrive at a correct set of findings. The investigator will gather documents and interview people before preparing a report, which then goes through a legal review before being returned to the commander.  That commander then serves as the “approving authority” and will sign off on the findings for that investigation.  Because of this non-expert process, we encourage individuals under investigation to seek capable legal representation when they are the target of a complaint that triggers a command investigation.

Financial information is some of the most carefully protected personal information in America… but that doesn’t mean no one can ever see it.  For example, when a crime is being investigated, law enforcement can gain access to your bank records. So, what about when it’s a military command investigation?  Technically, a command investigation into alleged military misconduct could gain access to a bank account, but the Investigating Officer or “IO” would still need to go through the same judicial process as required for a law enforcement investigation: obtaining a valid warrant from a court.  In reality, the lack of expertise and systems supporting command investigations makes this highly unlikely.  Commanders cannot, on their own, access your financial records under normal circumstances.

A general officer memorandum of reprimand (GOMOR) which is often colloquially referred to as a “GOMAR”) is a reprimand from a General. When a Soldier receives this form of adverse action, they will receive a short suspense to provide a response. If they do not respond, the reprimand will be filed in their official record. Filing in the official record effectively means that Soldier’s career is over unless additional action is taken. There are ways to later remove the GOMAR from the official record, but those processes are time-consuming and while the reprimand remains in the record, there are other administrative consequences that are sure to follow. Among those processes includes administrative separation (firing), potential removal for failing to progress such as through the QMP. If the Soldier is able to make it to retirement, then the derogatory filing of this reprimand will trigger what is called a grade determination. A grade determination can administratively reduce the member to the grade at which they last served honorably, which can be more than one grade reduction. Understanding how to best guard against the permanent filing is critical. For more information, please review this post.

A general officer memorandum of reprimand (GOMOR or sometimes “GOMAR”) is an official written reprimand from a General Officer (GO). Soldiers are flagged with an AA code (Adverse Action) while the GOMOR is being processed. The flag should be lifted after the filing determination. Where the GOMOR is filed is very important. A “local” filing determination means the GOMOR is essentially a written counselling that is destroyed when Soldier makes the next PCS move or two years pass. If the GOMOR is “permanently” filed at HRC, it can lead to other adverse actions, like an administrative separation (“Chapter”) process, separation through the QMP process, and it will trigger a grade determination. For more information about grade determinations, please review this post.

A general officer memorandum of reprimand (GOMOR or sometimes called “GOMAR”) is an official written reprimand from a General Officer (GO). It is not a legal (UCMJ) punitive action, but it can have serious consequences that very much can feel and act like punishment. Any GO can give any Soldier a GOMOR, regardless of where that Soldier is assigned and who the general officer is. It is possible to get more than one GOMOR for the same thing if two different GOs want to reprimand the Soldier. What really matters is where the GOMOR is filed. A “local” filing determination means the GOMOR is just a written counselling, but if the GOMOR is “permanently” filed at HRC, it can lead to other adverse actions, like administrative separation (“Chapter”) or separation through the QMP process. A GOMOR in the official file will also trigger a grade determination, which can administratively reduce any service member (enlisted or officer) for purposes of retirement and retirement pay.

A General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand (“GOMOR” or sometimes “GOMAR”) can have drastic consequences depending on whether or not it is rescinded, and of not rescinded (torn up) where it is filed by the issuing General Officer. A “local” filing determination means the GOMOR is essentially a written counselling, and nothing more. However, if the GOMOR is “permanently” filed, it goes in the Soldiers’ Army Military Human Resources Record (AMHRR, formerly known as the “OMPF”). This official filing can trigger other actions, like initiation of an administrative separation (“Chapter”) process or the QMP process. If the member is permitted to serve until retirement, the derogatory information of a GOMOR in an official file will trigger a grade determination, which can cost the member hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of their retirement.

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Being a former service member herself and working exclusively on military cases, Ms. Stewart has amassed experience to help in the following areas of the UCMJ:

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