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What are the different types of military investigations?

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Service members who are alleged to have committed misconduct or find themselves otherwise under investigation may want to understand the different types of military investigations.

  • Injuries and deaths
  • Property loss and destruction
  • Criminal activity
  • Safety violations and concerns
  • Any other matter or incident

Who conducts investigations in the military?

What are the most common types of military investigations?

  • Criminal Investigations
  • Property loss and damage investigations
  • Injury, Illness, and Death Investigations
  • Commander-Directed Investigations (CDIs)

Criminal Investigations

  • Rule of Court Martial 303 – Commander must initiate a preliminary inquiry is a subordinate is accused or suspected of criminal offense
  • Informal or formal
  • Investigations look for evidence of Guilt or innocence, aggravation, extenuation and mitigation

What are property loss and damage investigations?

Investigations of property loss or damage, referred to as Financial Liability Investigations of Property Loss (FLIPLs) in the Army, or Loss or Excess of Government Funds or Property investigations in the Navy are used to:

  • Document circumstances surrounding the loss, damage or destruction of government property
  • Adjust property records
  • Assess liability or provide relief from liability

Commands use these investigations for property accountability purposes. They aren’t  intended for adverse actions. That said, a commander always has the right to take adverse administrative actions based on the results of such an investigation. These actions could be in the form of AdSep (enlisted), a Board of Inquiry (officers), or BOI, or a general officer memorandum of reprimand, or GOMOR, or a letter of reprimand, or LOR.

What are Injury, Illness, and Death Investigations

A Line of Duty Investigation, or LOD investigation, is initiated when service members encounter suffering injury, illness, or death as a result of their service. The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether the death or injury was sustained in the Line of Duty. If so, then the service member or the service members family may be eligible for disability or other compensation from the Veterans’ Administration.

The two-step analysis for LOD investigation:

  1. Was the service member’s misconduct the proximate cause of injury, illness, or death?
  2. What was the service member’s status?

What prevents an injury, illness or death from being considered in the Line of Duty, or LOD?

Injuries, illness, or death resulting from misconduct, is not considered in the Line of Duty. However, if no misconduct was involved, then in Line of Duty would apply as long as the service member was in an authorized duty status (present for duty, on leave or on pass) and not AWOL. An LOD investigation can result in one of three determinations:

  • In Line of Duty (ILD)
  • Not in Line of Duty-Not Due to Own Misconduct (NLD-NDOM)
  • Not in Line of Duty-Due to Own Misconduct (NLD-DOM)

What is a command-directed investigation?

Formal or informal command-directed investigations are used for anything not covered by more specific investigations. Commands can initiate many types of investigations regarding the same incident.

During a command-directed investigations, the Investigating Officer (IO), is required to ascertain facts relating to an incident. Their duty is to impartially consider all evidence. The IO is not bound by the Military Rules of Evidence, and must weigh all evidence under the preponderance of the evidence standard. When the investigation is complete, they send their findings in a Report of Investigation which contains recommendations to the commander. The commander may approve, disapprove, return for additional investigation, appointing a new IO if necessary, and/or substitute the findings and recommendations.

What are the military regulations or policies that govern investigations?

These investigations are initiated by a commander and are governed by Army Regulation 15-6 (Army), the Manual of the Judge Advocate General or JAGMAN (Navy and Marine Corps), Air Force Instruction 90-301 (Air Force) and the Administrative Investigations Manual (Coast Guard).

What is the commander’s inherent authority for conducting investigations?


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