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Military Demotion Questions

Military demotion will often raise many questions. Is it fair? Is it legal? Who do I talk to? Many people choose to ask the Military Experts to get the answers to the many questions they have regarding military demotion and demotion law. Below are five of the top five questions answered by the Experts.

If a soldier is demoted from an E5 to an E4, do they have to go before the promotion board in order to be promoted?

An Article 15 under the Uniform Code of Military Justice which is Title 47 of the United States Code (47 USC) is what is known as a "non-judicial punishment" it is in lieu of a court martial procedure and can be voluntarily accepted by a soldier to have his/her case heard by a commander and, if the commander finds guilt, to impose a punishment. There are a couple of advantages in receiving an Article 15; you won't be discharged, you won't go to jail, and you won't carry a federal conviction or court martial. However, demotion is one of the penalties that you may receive. In order to receive a promotion after being demoted, you must go before a commander and have your case heard. You must also be recommended by your commanding officer for the promotion.

Can a soldier be demoted if he refuses a promotion?

Generally, a soldier's command will convene a competency review board to determine if the soldier is efficient at his current job. Prior to the board, the soldier is entitled to legal consultation from an attorney. The board isn't a criminal proceeding, but an administrative one. If the board concludes that the soldier is not able to perform his current job, he can be demoted in rank. In the event that the soldier opts out of a promotion, he/she isn't automatically qualified for a demotion. The command will usually convene a board for the purpose of determining whether or not to reduce the soldiers rank.

Are soldiers entitled to a hearing if they are going to be demoted or separated for not passing a test?

Here is a review of regulations regarding demotion in the Air force: Here is the Air Force Instruction that applies for demotion.

After reading the regulations, you will realize that you have rights that you can exercise if you are up for a demotion. You can speak with Judge Advocate General and submit any material that would support why you cannot pass the test and why you should not be demoted. He should also offer letters from his chain of command offering a show of support. However, the rules read as this; Airmen may be demoted for failing to maintain or failing to demonstrate the ability and willingness to attain physical standards. Without a legitimate reason for his inability to pass his test, he will probably be demoted.

The regulations that apply to separation are shown here: http://www.af.mil/shared/media/epubs/AFI36-3208.pdf

If you have been in the service longer than six years, you are allowed a hearing before the military can discharge you. It may be possible for you to convince the command to keep you. The ADC will give you an attorney for your hearing, but you may want to hire an attorney. If you can find a seasoned attorney who is familiar with military law, you stand a better chance of winning.

Can the spouse of a military member submit a letter concerning their spouse being demoted and how the demotion will affect the family?

As the spouse, you should have the right to express your views to the commander since your spouse's demotion will affect your future as well as his. The Air Defense Commander (ADC) should have given your husband a package to fill out; this is where you should have added your letter. If the package has already been turned in, your letter may have little effect on the commands decision. If you are willing to push the bar, you can always have the ADC submit an addendum to allow your letter to be added to your husband's submission.

Is it legal to be demoted by a commander for filing a grievance against a chief?

You have a right to file a grievance against a chief, however, they cannot retaliate .If you receive a demotion because you have filed a grievance, you may have a complaint under the whistleblower statute or UCMJ, based on retaliation. You should use the ADC to your advantage and submit a rebuttal to the LOR.

Being demoted can not only affect your status but it can affect your financial stability. Being wrongfully demoted can cause hurt feelings among staff and cause potential unrest among the platoon members. If you have been affected by a demotion or if you just have questions about demotion law, you can ask the Military Experts. The Experts can answer any question you have regarding demotion law in an efficient and knowledgeable manner.
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