The procedures for the separation of enlisted personnel is dependent upon the component of service. Although Active Duty enlisted separations are regulated under AR 635-300, Reserve and National Guard enlisted separations are regulated under AR 135-178. Each regulation sets forth different procedures, timelines and protocols for each component. Similarly, Active duty officer elimination boards are regulated by AR 600-8-24, while Reserve and National Guard Officer separations are regulated by AR 135-175. In all instances, the Procedures for Administrative Investigations and Boards of Officers as established under AR 15-6 dictates the general guidelines for all formal board procedures where the other regulations are silent.
Unlike a court-martial which can issue punitive discharge like an Honorable Discharge, Bad Conduct Discharge or Dishonorable Discharge, a separation boards or boards of inquiry bring with them the prospect of a characterization of military service that may act as a statutory bar to benefits or otherwise limit certain veteran's benefits. An administrative discharge may be either Honorable, General (under Honorable Conditions) or Other than Honorable. Early and frequent communication between a Servicemember and military counsel will help to secure the best possible outcome for continued military service or post-service benefits. Contact an experienced military lawyer to best position yourself and your future.