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Military administrative law refers to the laws, rules and regulations that govern the military and how treats service members for administrative violations. More serious criminal violations are handled by military courts-martial. When alleged issues of misconduct are processed “administratively”, it means that punishments like confinement and punitive discharges (Dishonorable Discharges and Bad Conduct Discharges) cannot be imposed. However, the consequences of administrative actions can be severe.
Administrative actions can cause a failure to promote, the loss of pay and benefits, and separation from the military. A separation can be under Other-than-Honorable Conditions. OTH). An OTH can have significant, lifetime consequences.
Fortunately, each military service has enacted regulations to protect the rights of the service members. These rights include, in many cases, the right to have a case heard by an Administrative Discharge Board (ABD), the right to administratively contest the results of an ADB, the right to have an inaccurate “record” corrected by the service’s Board of Correction of Records and the right to petition for an upgrade of the characterization of a discharge. Although these rights exist, they are subject to extensive and complex regulations.
If the military service fails to correct and erroneous decision, the service member in many cases will have the right to file suit against the service in U.S. District Court under the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. 500 et. seq., or in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims under the Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. 1491.
CDR Dennis Boyle, JAGC, USNR(R) has represented military members before ADB’s the various Boards of Corrections and the various Discharge Review Boards. As an officer in the Navy Reserve, for over nine years, he was assigned to the Navy Office of the Judge Advocate General, General Litigation Division. In that capacity, he represented defended the Navy in actions brought under the Administrative Procedures Act and the Tucker Act. He has handled all levels of review from the representation of service members before ADB’s through the military administrative appeals and review processes and in U.S. District Courts throughout the United States, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and in the various U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. Few lawyers have his experience in these complex military law and court martial defense matters.