Believe it or not, you can still be demoted when you make rank in the United States Space Force. Although most demotions occur when a Guardian violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice, there are ways for your command to take your rank even if you did not commit a crime or serious misconduct. Read below to learn more about Space Force demotions and our tips for responding if you are being demoted.

What is a Space Force Demotion?

According to DAFI 36-2502, Guardians can be demoted for a variety of different reasons. First, a Guardian can be demoted for "Student Status Termination," or when student status ends if they were promoted in anticipation of completing additional training or obtaining a commission. Second, a Guardian can be demoted for a failure in their own skill level. Third, a Guardian can be demoted for failure to keep fit, or consistent failures in the Space Force fitness program. Finally, and perhaps most commonly, a Guardian can be demoted for "Failure to Fulfill Responsibilities." This last reason for demotion is often used by commanders to demote Guardians for just about everything, from a DUI to simple failures in the workplace.

If you receive a Space Force demotion, it is important that you respond persuasively. You will be notified in writing and get three (3) duty days to respond. Here are our tips for responding to a Space Force demotion.

3 Reliable Tips for Responding to a Space Force Demotion

Tip #1: Address the Allegations Against You

As explained above, you may be demoted for a variety of different reasons. In your Demotion 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 demoting you 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 Space Force Demotion Rebuttal. There are many ways to respond to a demotion.  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 are notified of a Space Force Demotion, 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 potential demotion 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 demotion 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 Rebuttal to a Space Force Demotion

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

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:

If you are an officer 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 Officer Performance Report (OPR). However, when you receive a negative rating or comment in your OPR, it is called a "Referral OPR." Here's what you need to know and how to best respond.

What is a Referral OPR?

A "Referral OPR" is a performance report that includes a negative rating and/or negative comments. This "Referral OPR" can obviously be damaging to your career. It can affect your promotability, your future opportunities, and even your future assignments. When an OPR 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 OPR. Here are our tips for submitting a persuasive response.

Responding to a Referral OPR

Tip #1: Address the Allegations Against You

The reason you received a Referral OPR is that your supervisor believes that your performance during the rating period was unsatisfactory. In your OPR 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 OPR 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 OPR Rebuttal. There are many ways to respond to a Referral OPR.  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 OPR, 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 OPR 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 OPR 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 OPR Rebuttal

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

If you are a Sailor or Marine that receives an adverse FITREP, the impact can be devastating to your career. You need to protect your future and submit a persuasive appeal. Here's what you need to know about adverse FITREPs and our tips for responding.

Impacts of an Adverse FITREP

The first and most obvious impact of FITREP is on your promotability. If you have an adverse FITREP, your chances of promotion are decreased, sometimes significantly. You may also be coming up on reenlistment. If your adverse FITREP is recent, your command may be unlikely to reenlist you. Finally, an adverse FITREP may affect your future career opportunities and assignments. Because an adverse FITREP can have such a big impact on your career, it is important that you respond in a professional and persuasive manner. BUPERSINST 1610.10E, Chapter 17 describes your rights to respond to and appeal an adverse FITREP. Here are Military Justice Guides' tips for submitting a persuasive appeal.

3 Ways to Respond to an Adverse FITREP

Tip #1: Address the Allegations Against You

The reason you received an adverse FITREP is that your supervisor believes that your performance during the rating period was unsatisfactory. In your FITREP Appeal, 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 that are including a negative rating on your FITREP 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, if 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, if 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 you are facing in your FITREP Appeal. There are many ways to respond to an adverse FITREP.  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 an adverse FITREP, 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 adverse FITREP 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 an adverse FITREP 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 FITREP Appeal

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

If you receive an NCOER, or Noncommissioned Office Evaluation Report Form with negative comments or a "no" block check, the impact can be devastating to your career. You need to protect your future and submit a persuasive appeal. Here's what you need to know about negative NCOERs and our tips for responding.

Impacts of a Negative NCOER

The first and most obvious impact of your NCOER is on your promotability. If you have a negative NCOER, your chances of promotion are decreased. The Army also uses NCOERs as a basis for school selection and future assignments. Frankly, the NCOER is probably the most important document in your Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), because it is reviewed by selection and promotion boards and clearly represents the NCO's performance and potential to board members.

If you receive a negative or "bad" NCOER, you should immediately consult AR 623-3, Chapter 4. When you choose to respond to your negative NCOER, here are our tips for submitting the most persuasive appeal.

How to Respond to a Negative NCOER
How to Respond to a Negative NCOER

Tip #1: Address the Allegations Against You

The reason you received a negative or "bad" NCOER is that your supervisor believes that your performance during the rating period was unsatisfactory. In your NCOER Appeal, 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 NCOER 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 NCOER Appeal. There are many ways to respond to a negative NCOER.  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 negative NCOER, 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 negative NCOER 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 negative NCOER 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 NCOER Appeal

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

Believe it or not, when you make rank in the United States Air Force, you can still be demoted. Although most demotions occur when an Airman violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice, there are ways for your command to take your rank even if you did not commit a crime or serious misconduct. Read below to learn more about Air Force demotions and our tips for responding if you are being demoted.

What is an Air Force Demotion?

According to DAFI 36-2502, Airmen can be demoted for a variety of different reasons. First, an Airman can be demoted for "Student Status Termination," or when student status ends if they were promoted in anticipation of completing additional training or obtaining a commission. Second, an Airman can be demoted for a failure in their own skill level. Third, an Airman can be demoted for failure to keep fit, or consistent failures in the Air Force fitness program. Finally, and perhaps most commonly, an Air Force member can be demoted for "Failure to Fulfill Responsibilities." This last reason for demotion is often used by commanders to demote Airmen for just about everything, from a DUI to simple failures in the workplace.

If you receive an Air Force demotion, it is important that you respond persuasively. You will be notified in writing and get three (3) duty days to respond. Here are our tips for responding to an Air Force demotion.

Air Force Demotion

Tip #1: Address the Allegations Against You

As explained above, you may be demoted for a variety of different reasons. In your Demotion 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 demoting you 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, if 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, if 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 Air Force Demotion Rebuttal. There are many ways to respond to a demotion.  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 are notified of an Air Force Demotion, 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 potential demotion 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 demotion 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 Rebuttal to an Air Force Demotion

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

Your commander has "offered" you nonjudicial punishment, sometimes called an "Article 15," "Office Hours," or "Captain's Mast." At this point, you have a lot on the line, As we explained in a previous post, you could lose rank and pay. You could be required to do extra duty, or your freedoms could be restricted. It's up to you to respond in the best possible way. Here are our top tips for responding to Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment.

#1. Confront the Allegations and Evidence

An Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment starts with your commander receiving some evidence that you did something wrong. That evidence may be one-sided, and it may not include the whole story. But your commander reviewed it and believes you committed a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It's now your job to respond in a persuasive way. There are three common ways to respond to claims 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.)  

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, if 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, if 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.)

If the evidence against you is unclear, and your statement could change things, it is essential that you detail what you recall about the event or events in question. It is also vital that you point out the ways in which the evidence against you is being misinterpreted or otherwise does not support the allegations. Finally, if you have hard evidence supporting your case, you should strongly consider including that in your Article 15 response.

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 you are facing in an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment. There are many ways to respond persuasively.  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 the allegations in your favor.

Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment

#2: Include Positive Details About Yourself

When you are given an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment, you might think that your leadership only cares about the negative evidence against you. You might even believe that your leadership does not care about all the positive things you have done. In our experience, however, it's important that your leadership understands all the good things you have accomplished. You should include positive details about yourself and your career so that they consider the positives (along with any negatives).

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.

#3: Gather Character Letters

Perhaps the most powerful way to respond to an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment is through character letters. Character letters allow you to ask other people, like your supervisors or 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.

Writing a Persuasive Article 15 Response

The tips above should help you write a persuasive response to Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment. Our products can also help. If you are interested, please feel free to read more on our website or purchase a Response Template below:

One of the most common forms of "military justice" is "Article 15" -- Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment is a commander's way of handling minor misconduct without a judicial hearing. In the Army, Air Force, and Space Force, we call these actions "Article 15," "Nonjudicial Punishment," or "NJP." In the Marine Corps, they're often referred to as "Office Hours." And in the Navy, it's known as "Captain's Mast" or "Admiral's Mast." This form of punishment is authorized by Article 15, Uniform Code of Military Justice -- hence, the name "Article 15."

An Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment can have immediate and long-term impacts on your military career. It is important to understand these impacts before you decide how to respond appropriately to this form of military justice.

What is an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment (NJP)?

Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice permits a commander to punish a military member for various types of misconduct. Basically, if a military member violates any part of the UCMJ, the commander can take action under Article 15. To begin the process, a commander must have reason to believe that a member of their command has committed an offense under the UCMJ.

The commander then informs the member of the suspected offense and permits the member to either "accept" Article 15 or demand a trial by court-martial. If a member accepts the Article 15, it means they are allowing the commander alone to decide if they are guilty or not guilty of the offense, and if found guilty, an appropriate punishment. This makes the commander the "judge, jury, and executioner." If the members reject the Article 15, the commander may then send the case to court-martial.

If the member accepts the Article 15 and is found not guilty, the entire process is over. But if the member accepts the Article 15 and is found guilty, there can be immediate and long-term impacts on the military member's career.

Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment

Immediate Impacts of Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment

If you are found guilty in an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment proceeding, the commander will immediately impose punishment. The range of punishment depends on your rank and the rank of the individual punishing you.

If you are an enlisted member and your commander is a company grade officer (O-3 or below), your punishments may include:

  • A written or verbal admonishment or reprimand;
  • Forfeiture of one-half (1/2) month's pay per month for not more than two months;
  • Reduction to the lowest enlisted grade for members E-4 and below (for E-5 and above, the commander may reduce a member to the next lower pay grade if the commander could promote the service member to that grade);
  • Extra duties for not more than fourteen (14) days;
  • Correctional custody for not more than seven (7) days (only if you are E-3 or below); and
  • Restriction to certain limits for not more than fourteen (14) days.

If you are an enlisted member and the commander is a field grade officer (O-4 or above), your punishments may include all of the above. In addition, the commander could impose correctional custody for up to thirty (30) days, extra duty for up to forty-five (45) days, and restrictions for up to sixty (60) days.

If you are an officer, your punishments may include:

  • A written or verbal admonishment or reprimand;
  • Forfeiture of one-half (1/2) month's pay for not more than two months; and
  • Restriction to certain limits for not more than sixty (60) days.

For officers, an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment action is likely a career-ender, as discussed below.

Long-Term Impacts of Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment

The immediate impacts of an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment are likely to be painful. You could lose pay, rank, or be restricted to certain limits (like your home and workstation) for a long time. But the long-term impacts are equally damaging.

First, for any military member, an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment action will likely affect your promotability. Depending on how soon after your Article 15 you are scheduled to promote or face a promotion board, you may not be competitive for promotion. So even if you don't lose rank during the Article 15 process, you may not be able to promote to your next rank anytime soon because you have an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment on your record.

Second, if you are an enlisted member and you lose rank during the Article 15, you may hit high-year tenure. This could end your career before you planned for it to end. Similarly, an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment may motivate your command to deny your future reenlistment. This would mean that, if you are approaching the end of your current enlistment and receive an Article 15, you may not be able to sign up again.

Next, your command may use an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment to justify an administrative discharge. This could mean that you would be separated from the military before the expiration of your term of service. Depending on the type of discharge your command seeks, you could also lose your Honorable service characterization and, with it, your VA benefits.

Finally, if you are an officer, an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment action is likely to be a career-ender. Not only will you be less competitive for promotion, but your command may be motivated to separate you from the service. Becoming and remaining an officer is very competitive, and an Article 15 is a hugely negative mark on your record.

Writing a Persuasive Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment Response

If you are facing an Article 15 Nonjudicial Punishment, you need to write a persuasive response to avoid these short- and long-term impacts. Our products can help. If you are interested, please feel free to read more on our website or purchase a Response Template below:

If your commander has notified you that you may be administratively separated or discharged, you have a lot to lose. You have worked hard to build your military career, and it could all be over. You could lose your career, your paycheck, and your benefits. Depending on the characterization of your service (Honorable, General, or Under Other Than Honorable Conditions), you may also stand to lose most, if not all, of your VA Benefits.

With your future uncertain, it is extremely important that you respond to your ADSEP or Discharge in a professional and persuasive manner. It is also imperative that you keep the future in mind. How you respond to your discharge now could affect whether you could get your characterization upgraded in the future.

Here are Military Justice Guides' Top 4 Tips for Responding to an ADSEP or Discharge:

#1. Confront the Allegations and Evidence

The reason you are facing discharge or separation is that one of your superiors believes that you did something (or multiple things) wrong and should no longer be in the service. In your ADSEP or Discharge Rebuttal, it is important that you confront those allegations and the evidence against you. There are three common ways to respond to claims 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.)  

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.)

If the evidence against you is unclear, and your statement could change things, it is essential that you detail what you recall about the event or events in question. It is also vital that you point out the ways in which the evidence against you is being misinterpreted or otherwise does not support the allegations. Finally, if you have hard evidence supporting your case, you should strongly consider including that in your ADSEP or Discharge Rebuttal.

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 you are facing in your ADSEP or Discharge Rebuttal. There are many ways to respond to a ADSEP or Discharge.  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, decide to retain you in the military.

Rebutting an ADSEP

#2: Include Positive Details About Yourself

When you are notified of ADSEP or Discharge, you might think that your career is over. You might even believe that your leadership does not care about all the positive things you have done. In our experience, however, it's important that your leadership understands all the good things you have accomplished. You need to show them that what led to your potential ADSEP or discharge was out of character for you. You should include positive details about yourself and your career.

This is extremely important because, in the future, you could apply for a discharge upgrade if you end up being kicked out. Depending on the type of service characterization you receive, you could ask a Discharge Review Board to upgrade your characterization in the future. As an example, if you get a General (Under Honorable Conditions) discharge, you could apply for an upgrade to an Honorable. However, the Discharge Review Board will always want to see what you did during your career, and they will have access to your ADSEP or Discharge Rebuttal. You should begin this process by detailing all of your accomplishments NOW.

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, recognition, etc.  Explain that, because you have been successful in the past, you know you will be successful in the future.

#3: Gather Character Letters

Perhaps the most powerful way to respond to an ADSEP or Discharge is through character letters. Character letters allow you to ask other people, like your supervisors or 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 stand by you if you are retained in the military.

#4: Ask for "Probation"

In most cases, a military member who is recommended for Administrative Separation or Discharge may request a period of "probation." This allows the command to suspend the separation for a period of up to twelve months to allow the military member to overcome their deficiencies. This is one of the best way for military members to remain in the service.

Face it, if you are being discharged, you likely have a background with your command or a history of misconduct. If you don't change your ways, your military career is over. This period of "probation" is an opportunity for you to show your command that you deserve to remain in the military. Stay out of trouble and your career can be restored.

Each service has a "probation" option in their regulation:

Writing a Persuasive ADSEP or Discharge Rebuttal

The tips above should help you write a persuasive ADSEP or Discharge Rebuttal. Our products can also help. If you are interested, please feel free to read more on our website or purchase a Response Template below:

You signed up to serve, but now your command is trying to discharge you. You have a lot on the line. The benefits you earned, from the G.I. Bill to disability compensation, may all depend on the type of Space Force discharge you receive. At Military Justice Guides, we have helped countless clients deal with a potential military discharge, and we're here to help you understand the types and impacts of a Space Force discharge.

Types of Space Force Discharge

For enlisted members, Space Force discharges are governed by AFI 36-3208. The majority of Guardians who are separated prior to the expiration of their term of service are separated under Sections 5D, 5E, 5F, 5H, and 5K of that instruction. For example, Guardians may be separated for:

Entry Level Performance or Conduct

Per AFI 36-3208, paragraph 5.22, Guardians in entry-level status may be discharged when their unsatisfactory performance or conduct shows they are not qualified to be productive members of the Space Force. A Guardian may be discharged under this provision only if the discharge processing starts during the first 180 days of continuous active military service or the first 180 days of continuous active military service after a break of more than 92 days of active service.

Unsatisfactory Performance

Under paragraph 5.25 of AFI 36-3208, Guardians are subject to discharge for unsatisfactory performance based on documented failure to meet Space Force standards. These circumstances may include unsatisfactory duty performance (such as failure to perform assigned duties properly, a progressively downward trend in performance ratings, and/or failure to demonstrate the qualities of leadership required by the member's grade), failure to maintain standards of dress and personal appearance or military deportment, failure to progress in military training required to be qualified for service with the Space Force or for the performance of primary duties, and failure to meet minimum fitness standards. A Guardian may not be discharged for unsatisfactory performance until the Guardian has been formally counseled about the deficiencies and has had a chance to overcome them.

Misconduct

This is the most common cause of a Space Force discharge. Under Section 5H of AFI 36-3208, discharges for misconduct may be based on: Minor Disciplinary Infractions, or military infractions that result, as a rule, in informal or formal counselings, letters of reprimand, or Article 15 nonjudicial punishments; A Pattern of Misconduct, such as discreditable involvement with law enforcement or conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline; Civilian Conviction; Commission of a Serious Offense; or Drug Abuse. Prior to discharge, the member should be counseled about the deficiencies and given a chance to overcome them.

The "type" of Space Force discharge will be reflected on your DD214 upon discharge. This is commonly referred to as your "Separation Code." Depending on the type of discharge you receive, you may be limited in your future plans. For instance, Guardians separated for drug abuse may be unable to re-enlist or serve in federal government positions.

Impacts of a Space Force Discharge

Impacts of Space Force Discharge

The immediate impacts of a Space Force discharge are obvious -- you lose your paycheck, your active duty benefits, and your career as a Guardian. But the future impacts almost always depend on the "characterization" of your service. How your service is characterized is different than the type of discharge you receive. Upon discharge, your service may be characterized in the following manners:

Honorable

The honorable characterization is appropriate when the quality of the Guardian's service generally has met Space Force standards of acceptable conduct and performance of duty or when a member's service is otherwise so meritorious that any other characterization would be inappropriate.

Under Honorable Conditions (General)

If a Guardian's service has been honest and faithful, this characterization is warranted when significant negative aspects of the Guardian's conduct or performance of duty outweigh positive aspects of the Guardian's military record.

Under Other Than Honorable Conditions (UOTHC)

A discharge under other than honorable conditions is an administrative separation from the Service under conditions other than honorable. This characterization is appropriate when discharge is based on a pattern of behavior or one or more acts or omissions that constitute a significant departure from the conduct expected of Guardians. The member must have an opportunity for a hearing by an administrative discharge board before this characterization may be authorized.

The "characterization" of your service determines how the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide you benefits. Although every case is different, the following rules generally apply:

  • If your service is characterized as Honorable, you are entitled to all VA benefits.
  • If your service is characterized as Under Honorable Conditions (General), you are not eligible for the GI Bill. However, you are likely to be eligible for all other VA benefits (disability compensation, hospital care, etc.).
  • If your service is characterized as Under Other Than Honorable Conditions (UOTHC), you are likely to lose all VA benefits, including the GI Bill, disability compensation, and medical care.

For more information about characterization of service and VA benefits, check out our FREE PAMPHLET - "Benefits by Discharge Characterization."

How to Rebut a Space Force Discharge

If you are facing a Space Force Discharge, our guides and products can help. If you are interested, please feel free to read more on our website or purchase a Space Force Discharge Response Template below:

Military Justice Guides

Military Justice Guides and MilitaryJusticeGuides.com are not law firms, nor do our employees act as legal counsel. MilitaryJusticeGuides.com 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. MilitaryJusticeGuides.com 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 MilitaryJusticeGuides.com, its related Services, and its forms or templates are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney.

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