CALL FOR A CONSULTATION : 1-888-252-0927


Grade Determination at Retirement

Grade Determination Review / Retirement in Grade Determination

Very few military attorneys advise their clients about the third order effects of administrative consequences of derogatory actions like referred evaluations and officially filed reprimands.

The most notable of those third order effects is known as a grade determination review (for Army and Air Force) and retirement in grade determination (for Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard). When retirement eligible service members put in their packets for military retirement, if their service record contains derogatory information, this will trigger a determination whether that member should be allowed to retire at the highest grade (rank) they have achieved during their service. Yes, you read that correctly. Retirement eligible officers and NCOs can face administrative reduction at retirement to the grade at which they “last honorably served.”

Army Regulation 15-80

Army Regulation 15-80 governs Army grade determination reviews. AR 15-80 explains that there is only a right to respond in writing to attempt to justify why the member should get to retire at their current rank. Typically, there is only thirty (30) calendar days to respond. The member must demonstrate to the board that on the whole they served satisfactorily in the rank to merit retirement benefits at that particular rank.

Being reduced one, two or even more grades can mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the member’s retirement.

Notable Reduction

Perhaps the most notable occurrence of this powerful administrative measure in recent history was the administrative reduction of Brigadier General Jeffrey A. Sinclair. He was made to retire as a Lieutenant Colonel, a reduction of two grades. He was the first general officer in more than a decade who was administratively reduced by two grades. As a result of his reduction to O-5, General Sinclair loses $34,000 per year in retirement pay.

Factors that are Weighed

How long the officer served at a given rank satisfactorily can weigh in favor of keeping retirement at the highest rank achieved. Other considerations are the strength of the service during that grade. Servicemembers can assemble packets that include the highlights of their career, previous and recent evaluations during that grade, and support memoranda from others who observed their performance of service. There is a litany of other enclosures and attachments the member can and should include.

Experience Matters

Since 2012, the Law Office of Jocelyn C Stewart Corp. has been assisting senior leaders in drafting, compiling support, and assembling packets to support retirement at the highest grade achieved. We have worked hard to enable many clients keep their full retirement. Contact the Firm for an assessment.

Realize that if you have derogatory information in your record, the only way to avoid grade determination is to remove the derogatory information before the determination is triggered. There is a way – we assist service members in applying to remove derogatory information. We understand what these boards are looking for, and we stand ready to do our best to preserve what your service has earned.

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:

What Our Clients Say

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.