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Commander’s Options

A wide spectrum of options for disposing of criminal allegations is available to Commanding Officers/Generals. During the initial investigative stages, a Commanding Officer/General must weigh the seriousness of the misconduct with other factors, such as:

  • military character of the accused
  • length of service of the accused
  • inconvenience to the command
  • military necessity
  • operational tempo
  • the good order and discipline of the unit

For example, the Commanding Officer/General may decide not to prefer charges because the alleged misconduct is not overly serious and would be disproportionately disruptive to the command.

Typically, a Commanding Officer/General has four options when disposing alleged misconduct:

  1. Court-martial (e.g., general court-martial, special court-martial);
  2. Administrative hearing (e.g., Article 15, summary court-martial, discharge board);
  3. Formal counseling placed in the service record book of the accused;
  4. No action at all, if the allegations seem warrantless.

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