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Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies. The concept is that one is innocent until proven guilty. Regardless of what the law says about reasonable doubt, there is an unwritten presumption within the ranks of the military that if you are charged with sexual assault, then you are guilty. The stakes are your life! Your military counsel works for the same military that charged you. Consider that as you choose who represents you in your potentially life altering case.

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Junior Officer Black Marks Will No Longer Be Masked

Since 1997, it has been Army policy that junior officer evaluations would be sealed from boards reviewing captains and chief warrant officers for further promotion. This long-standing policy has now been reversed and all promotion boards will have access to all junior officer records and evaluations. The policy will also stand for school and command boards.

The change comes from Secretary of the Army John McHugh and aims not only to provide further transparency in the Army's directives, but also ensure that any black marks in these evaluations are considered in the overall potential of the officers in question. In his January 30 order, McHugh said that the new policy will help ensure that the Army continues to recognize junior officers who have demonstrated valuable traits, such as:

  • Physical ability
  • Moral fiber
  • Intellectual capacities

The Army's Human Resources Command now has until July 1, 2015 to reorganize their personnel records so that each junior officer file, called an Army Military Human Resources Record (or AMHRR), does not include this restricted section. This policy will also apply to boards considering personnel in the Army Reserve, National Guard, and non-commissioned officers later this year.

End of a Controversial Policy

In the past, this masking policy was used to allow an adjustment period for lieutenants and warrant officers who may have received less-than-favorable evaluations or were cited for certain infractions. The order came during a time of military build-up as the nation faced conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and allowed a more streamlined process of recognizing junior officers for promotion. This newest policy is one of several we have seen in the last year that is making transparency within many Army procedures a priority.

If you have concerns about how this new policy or past infractions could affect your upcoming promotion, then call experienced Military Law Attorney Joseph L. Jordan. We represent U.S. service members across the country and worldwide, so request your free case evaluation today.

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