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Officer Show Cause Board

An officer show cause board is a difficult thing to go through.  In many cases the officer facing the show cause board has several years of service, and is hoping to be able to serve until retirement.  If you have been given notice that you are required to “show cause” why you should not be administratively separated from the Army, you should consider hiring an experienced civilian military defense attorney.

An officer show cause board is either initiated by the Department of the Army (DA generated) or by the General Officer Show Cause Authority (GOSCA) at your installation (locally generated). The basis for the separation action is usually either substandard performance of duty, misconduct, or professional dereliction.  Your notification memorandum will list the specific reason why the officer show cause action is being initiated.

Officer Show Cause Board Options

The notification memorandum will also list the options available to you.  Your available options depend on the basis for the proposed separation, and on your status as an officer.

If you are a probationary officer (meaning you are a Reserve officer with less than 3 years of commissioned service, or a Regular Army officer with less than 5 years of commissioned service), and you are not being considered for an other than honorable discharge, you have the following  three options:

(1) You may submit a Resignation in Lieu of Elimination.  A Resignation is a memorandum that you send to Department of the Army, through your command channels, telling them that you will agree to give up your right to an officer show cause board if you are promised a better type of discharge (usually a General discharge);

(2) If you are a Regular Army officer, you may submit a request for Discharge in Lieu of Elimination; and finally

(3) You may submit a response to the notification memorandum.  Any response that you submit will be sent through the chain of command to the Department of the Army for final action.

If you are a nonprobationary officer (meaning you are a Reserve officer with 3 or more years of commissioned service, or a Regular Army officer with 5 or more years of commissioned service), or you are being considered for an other than honorable discharge, you have an additional option to request that your case be heard before an administrative separation board, called a board of inquiry (BOI).

A BOI will normally consist of three officers, all senior in rank to you.  The BOI’s job is to decide whether you have committed the acts alleged by the government.  If the BOI concludes that you did commit the alleged acts, the board members then decides if your acts warrant separation.  If the board members decide that you should be separated, the members will make a recommendation regarding the type discharge you should receive.  The recommendation of the BOI goes through the chain of command to the Department of the Army for final action.

If you are facing an officer show cause board, you have the right to be represented by an experienced civilian military defense lawyer. In many cases, an aggressive defense by a good civilian attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case.  Mr. Coombs is a civilian military defense attorney with extensive experience in show cause boards.  If you have questions about a show cause board, contact our law firm for a free case evaluation.

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