Gathering Evidence for Submission in Your Administrative Separation Board or Officer Elimination Board / Board of Inquiry

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As you are preparing for an administrative separation board of officer elimination board, also known as a board of inquiry (BOI), documentary evidence is critical.

This post discusses what materials you should be gathering to support your case.

In the evidence we can submit to the board on your behalf, we like to organize the submission into four different general categories.

Procedural History

The first category is evidence of the procedural history of what you have encountered. Make sure there is a document to support each step of the process. This includes any counseling statements, findings in an investigation, response to the findings, letters of reprimand, and the corresponding rebuttal, if there was nonjudicial punishment, records of the proceedings and any punishment you received, and any appeal. We gather these materials so that if appropriate, we can make the argument on your behalf that you have already suffered sufficient punishment for the allegations and that separation or elimination is too much and is excessive.

Evidence that Undermines the Basis for Separation / Elimination

The second category of evidence is evidence that tends to show that you did not commit the noticed misconduct on your board’s notification memorandum. This may be affidavits obtained by the independent investigation we undertook on your behalf. This could be text messages, case-specific photographs, and / or emails. If there is a person making an allegation against you, this could be evidence of their bias against you, such as event-oriented counseling statements, poor evaluations, or other evidence of their own poor performance.

Administrative Regulations Regarding the Basis for Separation / Elimination

The third potential category of evidence is the regulatory foundations for what the noticed misconduct represents. In many instances, the allegations do not even match what you were put on notice of in the administrative separation / elimination board proceedings. Sometimes, we include judicial instructions from the U.S. Army’s Benchbook instructions found at DA PAM 27-9. We may also include the UCMJ Articles and their definitions from the Manual for Courts-Martial. If your specific case deals with any technical issues, be ready to suggest regulations, instructions, or other information that may help to undermine the allegations of misconduct.

Extenuation and / or Mitigation

The last category of evidence we present during an administrative separation board or officer board of inquiry is evidence in extenuation or mitigation. Because the board is looking to decide whether you should be retained or not and if so, how your term of service should be characterized, this is a collection of your “I Love Me” materials. Gather into separate PDF files, that are NOT PDF Portfolios, records that demonstrate the totality of your service.

Military Service – it is important to fairly capture all the totality of your military service.

  1. Military awards (with their accompanying write up / recommendation)
  2. Promotion orders
  3. Deployment orders
  4. Evaluations (EPRs / NCOERs or OPRs / OERs, etc.
  5. Special recognition for outstanding service – Coins, etc.
  6. Selection for specialized secondary duties
  7. Certificates of completion training
  8. Photographs or News Articles about training, awards, or any other special recognition

Community Service – Though not required, demonstrating that you have helped to enrich your community can be valuable in providing a whole person perspective.

  1. Documentation of Volunteer Work (Letter of appreciation, certificate, etc.)
  2. Participation in Big Brothers / Big Sisters (unless being court-martialed for child sex abuse etc.)
  3. Other Community Outreach

Education – As a consideration for what opportunities may exist for you within and / or outside the military, it is crucial to provide evidence of the level of education already reached and the potential for future employability.

  1. GT Score / ASVAB Testing
  2. Academic Transcript(s)
  3. Degree certificate

Family & Background – As part of the emphasis to humanize you during the board, it is important for members who will sit in judgment of you to know that you are part of a family, whether it is your spouse and / or children, your biological parents, or the family that raised you.

  1. Letters of Support from family members
  2. Religious upbringing, if any – baptism certificate, marriage certificate, first communion, etc. (if it is an important part of your life)
  3. Childhood awards and achievements, as appropriate (e.g., participation in junior ROTC programs, National Honor Society, leadership roles in student government)

Photographs – With regard to any of the above, documenting promotions, service, deployment, a photograph can help your court-martial sentencing authority to trust that you value the events and people you are now emphasizing.

  1. Photographs of family
  2. Photographs taken during deployment (that are not of your classified workstation, etc.)
  3. Photographs during promotion ceremonies, during training, etc.
  4. Photographs of your family at important military events

Financial Obligations – Your ability to meet your obligatory and / or volunteer financial obligations will be impacted by any decision to separate you before your current term of service and particularly before your retirement. Provide information about child support payments, alimony, or financial support sent to family and loved ones that you give voluntarily.

  1. Divorce decree / order for child support
  2. LES that reflect any voluntary draft allotments (e.g., to support your parent or loved one)

Support Memos and Letters – It is important to provide perspective supporters to your attorney so that the lawyer can solicit letters / memoranda of support. They should speak to the achievements and attributes the witness sees in the client and in some cases, to ask for a certain (realistic) particular punishment or lack of it with a stated reason (e.g., please retain SGT X in the service so that he may continue to Y, or please retain so he can retire support his family).

  1. Memoranda of Support from prior bosses / supervisors
  2. Memoranda of Support from current chain of command (to attest to continued strong work ethic)
  3. Memoranda of Support from peers
  4. Letters of Support from civilian friends, pastor / clergy member

These are general guidelines to help you prepare for an administrative separation board. Remember, every case is unique. You may not have many of these, and that is okay. Gather what you can and know that it is okay to ask questions. We are here to help.

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