Need legal help? We know the team! Contact The Military Defense Firm for expert help.

Military Justice Guides

Helping military members successfully 
navigate the justice system.
$0.00 USD 0 items

No products in the cart.

3 Reliable Tips for Responding to a Referral EPR

Share on Social

If you are enlisted in the Air Force or the Space Force, you know what happens every year around the same time — your command writes an evaluation of your performance, known as an Enlisted Performance Report (EPR). However, when you receive a negative rating or comment in your EPR, it is called a “Referral EPR.” Here’s what you need to know and how to best respond.

What is a Referral EPR?

A “Referral EPR” is a performance report that includes a negative rating and/or negative comments. This “Referral EPR” can obviously be damaging to your career. It can affect your promotability, your future opportunities, and even your future assignments. When an EPR is “referred,” the servicemember is given an opportunity to write a written response. You must provide your written response within three (3) duty days of receiving the Referral EPR. Here are our tips for submitting a persuasive response.

Tips for Responding to a Referral EPR

Tip #1: Address the Allegations Against You

The reason you received a Referral EPR is that your supervisor believes that your performance during the rating period was unsatisfactory. In your EPR Rebuttal, it is important that you confront those allegations and the evidence against you. There are three common ways to respond to allegations based on our “best practices.”  

First, you can accept the allegations as true and simply hope for the best outcome.  This most commonly happens when the evidence against you is clear.  (For example, you sent inappropriate text messages to someone, and your command has those text messages, and they are including a negative rating on your EPR because of it.)

Second, you can dispute the allegations but not make a statement.  This most commonly happens when the evidence against you is unclear, but anything you say about what happened could make things worse.  (For example, someone claims you said something inappropriate to them, there is no hard evidence or witnesses, but you know that you actually did say the inappropriate thing.)  

Finally, you can dispute the allegations with a statement and evidence.  This most commonly happens when the evidence against you is unclear, and your statement could change things.  (For example, someone claims you said something inappropriate to them, there is no hard evidence or witnesses, and you know you did not say the inappropriate thing.)

Although the team at Military Justice Guides are not lawyers, and cannot give you legal advice, we can say from experience that these are the best ways to address the allegations that you are facing in your Referral EPR Rebuttal. There are many ways to respond to a Referral EPR. The key is to decide on a strategy and stick to your message. Provide information and evidence that helps your command understand your position and, hopefully, resolve your case in the most lenient way.

Tip #2: Show Your True Colors

When you receive a Referral EPR, you might think that it is all your leadership or command cares about. In our experience, however, it’s important that your leadership understands all the good things you have done. You need to show them that what led to your Referral EPR was out of character for you. You should include positive details about yourself and your career. Show them your true colors.

We always encourage our clients to detail their careers. Talk about your assignments and what you learned from them. List your training opportunities. You should definitely include lots of information about any awards you may have won or been nominated for, even if they are “small” awards. Explain your successes, including any major projects, decorations, recognitions, etc.  Explain that, because you have been successful in the past, you know you will be successful in the future.

Tip #3: Get Support from Others

Perhaps the most powerful way to respond to a Referral EPR is through character letters. Character letters allow you to ask other people, like your co-workers, to stand up for you and help you show your true character. In any character letter, you want the author to talk about three things: how they know you, what they think about you, and what your best character traits are. Character letters are an excellent way for you to show your leadership how you contribute to the military community and how other people think you will succeed in the future.

When you ask for character letters from others, you should explain the allegations against you so that they understand why you need their support. You can also provide them with a Character Letter Template, which is a good way to show that you are planning to submit a professional rebuttal and need help.

Character letters are truly the best way to show that others support you and will help you in the future.

Writing a Persuasive Referral EPR Rebuttal

The tips above should help you write a persuasive rebuttal to your Referral EPR. Our products can also help. If you are interested, please feel free to read more on our website or purchase a template below:

Military Justice Guides

Military Justice Guides and are not law firms, nor do our employees act as legal counsel. provides an online portal to give users a general understanding of military law and to provide an automated software solution to individuals who choose to prepare their own documents. Services may also include a review of your answers for completeness, spelling, grammar, and for internal consistency of names, addresses and the like. At no time do we review your answers for legal sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide legal advice, opinions or recommendations about your legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, selection of forms, or strategies, or apply the law to the facts of your particular situation. We are not a law firm and may not perform services performed by an attorney. Military Justice Guides and, its related Services, and its forms or templates are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney.

© Copyright 2021 - All Rights Reserved
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram