As anyone who has ever served in the military knows, there are serious bureaucratic hurdles to getting anything done. The phrase "hurry up and wait" was coined for a reason. There is often a maze of administrative forms, processes, and bodies to deal with when entering, interacting with, and leaving the service. This section will help guide you through that process, letting you know what to expect as well as what options are available when you join the military or if you ever face any adverse administrative actions while serving.
Needless to say, joining the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps or Coast Guard is a significant commitment, both in terms of the time that you agree to serve and the conditions that you may face while you’re serving. From challenging training environments to deployments overseas, serving in the military can be quite demanding on service members and their families.
Because of this, it’s important for you to know all of your options before you sign an enlistment contract, as there may be additional signing incentives available to you. Some of these incentives may have even been promised during the recruiting process, such as signing bonuses, specialized military training or education, benefits for your civilian education, or your choice of your first duty location. The enlistment contract is a critical part of that process because the contract can in many ways shape your future career, and any promises not included in the contract essentially do not exist. This section will help you understand the contracting process and what you can do to set yourself up for success.
Adverse Administrative Actions and Discharges
Service members face a wide range of rules and regulations. These can cover such things as the appropriate wear and appearance of their uniform to specific standards for height and weight, among others. Service members can also be subjected to a variety of orders through their chain of command, ranging from what time to appear at formations to deadlines for completing certain tasks.
With all of these rules, regulations and orders, disciplinary issues are bound to arise. While more serious offenses are dealt with through the military’s court-martial system, other offenses can be dealt with by a service member’s chain of command through adverse administrative actions, such as non-judicial punishments or, if warranted, an administrative separation which is the military's process for "firing" personnel.
In this section, you'll learn more about non-judicial punishments, such as who has the authority to impose them, when they can be imposed, and what forms they can take. You'll also learn more about what to expect during an administrative separation process, your rights during that process and the effects of the type of discharge you could receive which may impact your rights to future benefits. For service members seeking to challenge their discharge, this section provides helpful information about the discharge upgrade process.
Being in the military involves a significant sacrifice of time and the many conveniences of civilian life. However, it’s also important to protect your rights and interests in the process. This section has helpful information to do just that, from the time you sign your contract to the time you receive your discharge.