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Military Administrative Separation 101

Military administrative separation is when your military career comes to an end prematurely for a variety of reasons. An administrative separation occurs when your commander initiates process of separating you involuntarily from service through a non-judicial process. To put it in civilian terms, an administrative separation is the equivalent of getting fired from your job.

Administrative Separation Under the UCMJ

Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, administrative separation runs from minor offenses to serious offenses:

  • Minor Offense
    • For administrative separation to occur under a minor offense, there needs to be evidence or a pattern of misconduct consisting of two or more minor disciplinary actions. Your commander will determine what constitutes a minor disciplinary infraction. There needs to be a pattern of misconduct consisting of discreditable involvement with military authorities. Discreditable contact includes violations of the UCMJ, regulation or orders, State penal codes, and/or other military customs and traditions.
  • Serious Offense
    • A serious offense requires evidence of a specific military or civilian offense that warrants a discharge and authorizes a punitive discharge under the UCMJ.

What Happens If You’re Put Under Administrative Separation?

When you’re put under administrative separation, you’ll be notified in writing. In the written notice, you’ll learn the basis for your separation and the recommended characterization of service. The recommended characterization of service is important because it could potentially impact your ability to avail veterans’ benefits later on.

There are three different types of administrative separation:

Honorable

An Honorable discharge is awarded when a military member meets the standards of acceptable conduct and performance of duty for military personnel. You must have received a good to excellent rating for your service, and you weren’t discharged because of misconduct.  If the servicemember reaches the end of their enlistment period or contract there is a strong presumption that the servicemember served honorably.

General (Under Honorable Conditions)

A general discharge is awarded when significant negative aspects of the member’s conduct outweighs positive aspects of their conduct. Under a general discharge a member will generally not be allowed to reenlist or enter a different branch of the military service; however, a servicemember receiving a General will likely receive most of the VA benefits he/she would have otherwise received with an Honorable discharge.

Other Than Honorable

An OTH discharge results from a pattern of behavior or acts that are a significant departure from conduct expected of military members.  If a servicemember receive an OTH he/she should expect some or all of their VA benefits to be in jeopardy, including educational benefits.

Example of OTH discharges include:

  • Acts that endanger the security of the United States or the health and welfare of other members of the military
  • Abuse of special position of trust
  • Use of force or violence causing serious bodily injury or death

If you’re a military member facing an administrative separation hearing give us a call at 844-334-5459. At Military Justice Attorneys, we have experience in administrative separation hearings. Check out our website to learn more about how we can help you.

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