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DoD policy change on promotion boards increases career risk for officers

 In Blog

Changes in the adverse information promotion boards will see means officers should retain counsel early in the investigation process.

The Army has announced that promotion boards will be able to see adverse information when reviewing a promotion candidate’s file. Before this change, adverse information was only used as part of an administrative qualification review after the promotion board process was complete. Prior to this change Officers had to worry that accusations of misconduct would lead to Boards of Inquiry. If they do not get promoted to start with, then it becomes even harder to maintain a successful career that they likely have invested 10 or more years in. Hiring a military criminal defense attorney early in the investigation process can blunt the effect misconduct allegations have on an officer’s career and promotion prospects. When an officer looks for civilian lawyers specializing in military law, they should look for experience in the investigative process.

Promotion boards now see adverse information

According to the Army News Service “Promotion boards will now be able to see almost all substantiated adverse information to include anything currently filed as restricted in an officer’s human resource record.” This change makes it even more important for an officer to challenge erroneous information prior to an investigating officer filing a report. Once adverse information is filed, erroneous or not, it may be too late to challenge it once a promotion board has already taken it into consideration.

What to do if you are facing military investigation

Officer saluting inside a hanger facing the outdoors at night; lawyers specializing in military law near me

Officers serving their country deserve rigorous defense when under investigation.

Officers who find themselves under investigation should retain counsel as early in the investigation as possible. They should also avoid making statements to the investigating officer without an experienced criminal defense attorney. Having experienced counsel on their side can make all the difference in preventing erroneous information from being filed. It also ensures the officer gets a rigorous defense.

Some types of files a promotion board would see could include courts-martial guilty verdicts, NJP, or Letters of Reprimand. The boards will also get a summary of any substantiated investigation reports or inquiries. An officer considered for promotion can submit matters to the board. However, there is no evidence that boards take into consideration any additional information presented other than the performance record and adverse information. Getting assistance from civilian lawyers specializing in military law can help defend the target of investigation before an adverse report lands in a promotion file.

How to find lawyers specializing in military law investigations

Those under investigation may have access to free legal counsel with the Trial Defense Service. However, these defense counsel are usually overworked and have prioritized their courts-martial clients who face jail time among other grievous consequences. Additionally, these counsel are limited in their experience. This is where retaining experienced counsel can make all the difference. A civilian attorney with many years of representing military clients usually has more experience than the military attorneys on either side of these investigations and adverse separation processes. Officers should look to find lawyers specializing in military law.

The Army made this change to align with the new Department of Defense Instruction 1320.14 which complies with the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. These changes went into effect in June 2021. These changes apply to active-duty Major selection boards and Reserve Colonel selection boards.


Are you under investigation? No matter where you are stationed in the world, contact my office at +‪(757) 504-2815 or through our convenient online form to schedule a free consultation.

Attorney Peter Kageleiry, Jr., focuses his legal practice exclusively on military courts-martial law and related adverse administrative actions.

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