There are few actions that a service member can perform that will result in their expedited separation from the force prior to the end of their obligation. Usually these actions are obvious and seemingly should not require publishing, and yet we continue to see them occur.
Separations should never come as a surprise. People understand the severity of the decisions that they make either on the individual event, or in the aggregate. A crime could be so heinous that it warrants immediate separation, or so trivial – but it is the straw that broke the camel’s back after a chain of repeated incidents. Service members should be aware that their actions do have consequences, and that is a good thing because the military as a whole desires to retain quality, not quantity.
There are multiple chapters that are routinely used when these actions occur. The chapters equate to sections of the UCMJ, and therefore reflect a chapter, section, and paragraph, that justify removal. A chapter 14 separation is one for misconduct. The most common section is a 14-12 a, b, or c which covers minor patterns of misconduct, discrediting patterns of misconduct, or committing of a serious offense.
For the service member that is repeatedly late, cannot figure out how to bring the correct equipment, is impossible to get ahold of, but never does anything discrediting, a 14-12(a) separation can be used. In contrast, a service member who has issues with insubordination, refusing to perform actions, falls out of formations on purpose, or generally is a discredit to the organization, a 14-12(b) can be used. The most serious is the 14-12(c). This focuses more on actions such as a positive urinalysis for drugs, abuse of prescription drugs, a DUI, assault, battery, rape, or domestic violence. While these are not all of the categories, they are some of the common ones.
It is up to the commander to provide a recommendation for retention or separation to their senior officers. The company commander makes the recommendation, along with the recommendation for characterization of service. This next goes to the Battalion and then Brigade commander to agree or disagree and make the appropriate changes. If the service member has less than six years or is receiving anything above an Other Than Honorable discharge, the process ends at the Brigade commander. If they have more than six years, or are receiving an Other Than Honorable discharge, it must go to the first commanding general in the chain of command for confirmation.
Some people would argue that a DUI or drug offense was not such a serious thing only a few years ago. They would be right. There are sergeant first classes and command sergeant majors today with DUIs on their records. Soldiers were often transferred or only received an article 15 and reduction in rank for drugs during the surge in Iraq. In those cases, the military was growing and needed people. Today the military is still shrinking. Budget cuts are causing the hard choices to be made, and leaders are having to make those choices too. Retain those who violate the regulations? Or retain those who do not. It is not an easy choice, but it is an important one.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.