ADC stands for Area Defense Counsel. The ADC at an Air Force or Space Force installation is responsible for providing legal defense advice, counseling, and representation to Department of the Air Force service members. The ADC is equivalent to a public defender for Department of the Air Force service members.

The ADC assists and represents Department of the Air Force service members facing adverse administrative or disciplinary actions. These adverse actions include, but are not limited to, Letters of Counseling, Letters of Reprimand, Non-judicial punishment (or Article 15s), Unfavorable Information Files (UIF), administrative demotion or separation actions, and referral evaluations. The ADC also becomes assigned to aid Department of the Air Force service members facing criminal judicial proceedings, such as, an Article 32(b) preliminary hearing or court-martial.

The ADC offers their services free of charge to Department of the Air Force service members.  The ADC team is not assigned to any local command or installation where they are located.

Learn more about how much experience an ADC has here.

The “ADC” is the Area Defense Counsel for an Air Force or Space Force installation who is an Air Force judge advocate (lawyer) or military attorney. Typically, this position for the attorney is their second assignment as a judge advocate and their first one defending clients against adverse actions or judicial proceedings.

The attorney’s experience in military law is very minimal at this point in their career. The ADC’s experience typically only includes between 18 months to 2 years at an installation legal office plus a 9-week course at the beginning of their military career that addresses all facets of military law. Depending on the caseload of their first assignment at an installation legal office, the ADC may have participated in prosecuting a handful of criminal cases, at most. Therefore, their experience in military criminal law is even more limited.

Any servicemember who believes that they may be facing an adverse administrative action or criminal charges should contact a qualified civilian defense counsel as early as possible.

Click here to see more information on what an ADC is.

The impact of an LOR, or Letter of Reprimand, itself can vary in its impact on your career depending on your rank and the issuing authority of the LOR.

If you are an enlisted member and receive a “desk drawer LOR” from your first-line supervisor means that it will not be filed in your Personnel Information File (PIF). If this occurs, then you may not see any secondary effects from the LOR. However, if your Flight Chief, First Sergeant, or Commander issue you an LOR and file it in your PIF you could see several of the below actions following your LOR.

If an Officer receives and LOR, no matter the issuing authority, the LOR is required to be filed in an Unfavorable Information File (UIF) and in the Officer’s Selection Record (OSR). These subsequent actions are adverse to an officer’s ability to be promoted and therefore, can be detrimental to the officer’s career.

In addition, there are several consequential effects from an LOR one could face as described below. Any of the below combined with an LOR could be a basis for involuntary separation from the service with a less than Honorable service characterization. Leaving the service without a full Honorable discharge has significant consequences to you in civilian life.

UIF: A UIF or Unfavorable Information File is similar to a PIF, except only unfavorable or negative information is contained in the file and it is maintained by the Force Support Squadron (FSS) rather than the individual’s flight or squadron. For enlisted members, the LOR will remain in the UIF for 1 year; for officers, 2 years.

Control Roster: A control roster is rehabilitative tool to assist Commander’s in evaluating a member’s performance. It is a list of individuals within a unit that require monitoring, observation, evaluation, etc. A control roster requires an observation period of 6 months. While on a control roster, a servicemember is not permitted to PCS, be promoted or re-enlist, and formal training must be canceled.

Referred OPR / EPR: The conduct which was a basis for the LOR may also be included in an OPR / EPR, which, in turn, may cause the report to be referred. Referred reports have their own secondary impact on one’s potential to be promoted or retained in the service.

Promotion deferral or “red line”: If a servicemember is on a promotion list or has a promotion line number, receiving an LOR can cause their promotion to be deferred / delayed or even removed / “red lined.”

Assignments: As described above, if a servicemember finds themselves on a Control Roster, PCSs are prohibited until removed.

Decorations: Issuance of an LOR can be considered when determining if a servicemember is deserving of a decoration at the end of a deployment, assignment, etc.

OSR: All LOAs and LORs, as well as LOCs related to a substantiated finding or conclusion from an officially documented investigation or inquiry, are required to be filed in the Officer Selection Record (OSR). All officer adverse information placed in the OSR is subject to the Department of the Air Force records retention requirements, meaning it will not be removed from the OSR until it meets the required disposition criteria and timeframe.

Maybe. Law Office of Jocelyn C Stewart may take a matter on behalf of a service member on a case by case basis to DOHA. The Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (called DOHA) reviews requests to cancel invalid debts and even applications to forgive debts. DOHA handles claims involving military pay, allowances, travel, transportation, monies when a member wants payments for unused accrued leave, involving disputes on retired pay, and even what are known as survivor benefits. These claims can arise from service that was CONUS and OCONUS. Even if a member or civilian employee was accidentally overpaid, DOHA handles requests to waive the accidental overpayment of debts (including travel and relocation). DOHA even handles certain contractual claims most of which involve disputes between moving companies and a branch of the armed forces about the carrier’s liability when property is lost or damaged in transit  pursuant to a government bill of lading. All cases are unique.

The Firm will assess the viability of the application during the initial consultation and then determine if the likelihood for success.

It depends, but probably. If the unit members are acting pursuant to a valid order, then yes, they can enter your home to execute the seizure. Generally, police will need a warrant. This can be an especially difficult area of the law, given the nuances of what authorization or justification the command or police are using. As always, we do not recommend willfully refusing to comply. We do recommend you read this post for more information and that you seek the advice of experienced counsel to field this issue and the broader context of what you may be facing in an investigation.

Generally, yes. The orders of your command will be presumed to be lawful unless evidence indicates to the contrary. Your command has an overarching duty to maintain the safety of the member and others. This duty does not change even if you live off the installation. As with most issues in the law, there is nuance and grey areas. For more information, please read this blogpost.

No. That’s a really bad idea. If you are considering trying to secretly record a conversation with your commander or supervisor, and especially if you want to try to record an interview with law enforcement, you really should be consulting with an attorney who specializes in the UCMJ. In many states, the law requires two party consent to record a conversation. Even in what we call “one party” states, if you are on a military installation, you are now dealing with federal law. Trying to record your interview with law enforcement is especially poor decision-making, since special provisions govern recording official interrogations, etc. These issues do not even begin to consider whether there is a colorable argument that in secretly recording a conversation whether you’ve also separately committed an Article 134, UCMJ or Article 133, UCMJ offense. For more information about the complexities of this issue, please read this blogpost.

It’s complicated, and frankly, it depends. While service members retain their right to privacy and to guard against unreasonable searches and seizures, that right is not without exception. The answer can vary based on who is trying to enter, whether they have an authorization (the equivalent of a warrant), and also whether you gave consent. For more information on this complex issue, please review this blogpost. We also recommend calling one of our attorneys to discuss the details of your individual situation.

Yes. Your command is not bound by the determinations of Family Advocacy Program (FAP) or any other agency or even an investigative body. FAP findings do not bind the command’s hands to taking action. Understand that FAP’s findings may very well provide good evidence to help you. For more information on this issue, please see this blogpost. Realize that the decision whether or not to “accept” nonjudicial punishment / Article 15 / CAPT’s Mast may be murky. Contact an experienced attorney to talk through these issues.

Field grade and now company grade officers have the right to receive, review, and to respond to derogatory findings. This is based on the 2020 amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to 10 United States Code § 615. 10 USC 615 outlines what promotion selection boards may see in the way of negative findings from a prior investigation. Because the amendment includes officers who are potentially to be selected as O-4s (known as field grade officers), company grade officers now are included in the group of people entitled to review and respond to derogatory findings.

A: While every servicemember has a constitutional right to remain silent and rights under Article 31, UCMJ, it is a lawful order of your command to require you to report to the military law enforcement office conducting your investigation. In addition to normal booking procedures, such as fingerprinting and photographing, there are procedures that must be followed to read you your rights, even if your intent is to invoke them. There is a difference between being required to report to a location and being required to make statements to law enforcement. For more information about requirements of reporting to military law enforcement, please read this post.

A: Support can mean many things to different people. So can the term “command.” Realize that often the level of command who may be assuring you of their support is not the level of command that has the power to make decisions. For senior leader misconduct and any behavior covered as sexual assault or sexual harassment, these decisions are ultimately left to the special or even the general court-martial convening authority.

A: Yes. In all likelihood, even if both servicemembers live on a base, private party sales and transfers will be governed by military regulation. Military regulation routinely outlines that any sale between members must follow the surrounding state law. In many if not most states, state laws (like Washington) require that the sale go through a licensed dealer.

A: Probably not. The Inspector General is tasked with ensuring that the command follow procedures and policies outlined by regulation. With a substantial amount of discretion, the command has authority to take action against you. Often filing an IG complaint can anger the command and make your situation worse than had you not filed the complaint. For more detailed information about the role of the Inspector General, please see this post.

A: Probably not. In a system such as the UCMJ where decisions are largely within the command’s discretion, rarely is filing an Article 138 Complaint against the command going to give you the desired result. Article 138 is designed to give redress to Soldiers when there is a verifiable wrong by the command. That is not the same thing as the command deciding with which you disagree. Often, filing Article 138 complaints has the opposite result than the one intended, and in a world where humans are the decision-makers, can tend to cement the command’s mind to an action that is adverse to you. All cases are unique. For questions about your specific situation, please consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced defense counsel.

A: Perhaps. If a civilian heads military prosecutions for non-military specific offenses, we tend to believe that the number of courts-martial moving forward will decrease. However, we do not believe that allegations will decrease, and we highly suspect that those allegations will continue to be handled by military commanders in non-criminal, administrative actions. Those actions include administrative reprimands and elimination from the service through administrative separation packets and if required, by administrative separation boards / boards of inquiry. What is also troubling is that when sexual assault and domestic violence allegations are handled administratively, although the risks are lessened because there is no potential for jail time or sexual assault offender registration, the rights afforded to service members in administrative processes are substantially lessened. For instance, in cases we have handled that went an administrative route, even though we knew the Army CID file contained favorable evidence, the government is not required to hand over the entire file; they are only required to give what the commander based his decision to move forward with separation. And Army CID’s own regulation states that they may not release their file unless there has been a valid discovery request. Discovery requests are narrowly construed to mean a document that a defense counsel files in a criminal prosecution. Until these kinds of loopholes are resolved, members facing allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence will remain subject to the influence of their commanders, and the system remains deeply flawed.

Our Practice Areas

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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When faced with the decision of hiring a UCMJ specialist, Ms. Stewart’s former clients explain all that is necessary about her commitment to their case and her expertise in handling the toughest legal battles. Learn more about her unique abilities in the words of her clients, peers, and military judges.