Officers in the Navy have to maintain high standards of behavior as per policies of the Navy. An officer's performance and demeanor is constantly under scrutiny by other higher ranks.

There are some criteria in the Navy that is used to judge an officer's readiness:

  • the ability to perform duties properly in the Navy based on the standard of their overall performance and their general conduct,
  • demonstrating high standards of conduct in a system where honorable service is given the utmost importance,
  • progressing via increases in grade and levels, and
  • offer administrative separations for officers in the Navy in different situations.


There are various policies and procedures involved in the separation of a Naval officer as per MILPERSMAN 1910-010. The Navy spends a generous of time and funds to train an officer in the Navy, and the officer is expected to serve his obligatory period well. The Navy spends on the officer's training, providing their equipment along with other expenses that are related to recruiting new personnel.

Separation before that obligatory service period is over is considered as a loss when it comes to the time and money the Navy has invested in the training of that officer. In the Naval Services, there is a provision for administratively separating officers if their performance is substandard, or their overall conduct is not as per regulations of the Navy.

To proceed further, efforts are made to:

  • See whether any of the officers are demonstrating signs of bad conduct, or a low level of performance, and whether they can be separated from the services earlier,
  • Improve their performance, and keep them in the services via regular counseling sessions, training and reintegration,
  • Separate officers who do not display any signs of progress in the services,

Orders for separation of officers are always final, and can only be given by the Chief of Naval Personnel, or the Secretary of the Navy.

According to MILPERSMAN 1611-010, once the Commander or Navy Personal Command receives a Report of Misconduct, they can decide on further action as a Show Cause Authority (SCA). These procedures are different for probationary and non-probationary officers in the Navy. Probationary officers are officers who have served for less than six years in the Navy.

They are sent a notification through the CO, if the SCA feels that the officer should show cause in order for retention of the officer. Non-probationary officers are permitted to show cause for retention in front of a Board of Inquiry. They are sent a letter of notification. The officer then has ten days to decide whether they want the case to be heard by the BOI. The Board of Inquiry must be held within a period of 60 days after the officer elects to appear in front of the BOI.


When an officer is separated from the services, but still needs to complete his obligatory service period, that officer is transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve. Any officers, who can still perform in other naval tasks, are sent to the IRR so that they can complete the remaining obligatory service period. However, those personnel who have been separated Under Other Than Honorable charge cannot be sent to the IRR. Also, officers who have been separated due to medical problems cannot be part of the IRR because their medical condition might interfere with their ability to perform well.


After an officer has been notified of their administrative separation from the Naval services, the officer can choose to implement his right to an Administrative Board. If he chooses an Administrative Board, the separation process has to end within 50 days of notification. If the officer opts to waive the Administrative Board, or if the officer is not entitled to it at all, the separation has to occur within a period of 15 days after notification.

Officers are notified about the different types of discharges that they can get, and the basis upon which an administrative separation is being issued. Also, they will be informed of the outcome of a separation. These are called periodic explanations and they can be given in a written format. These explanations are to be provided to the officer by the commander, and it is the sole responsibility of the commander. Failure to provide an explanation cannot result in a delay in the separation process.


Depending on the reason for their separation, there are different types of discharge certificates issued to officers.

  • An Honorable Discharge Certificate: warranted to officers who are being discharged on the basis of their age, and their inability to keep up with their duty due to physical restrictions. Failure to maintain an academic standard, or to pass an exam conducted for promotion can also lead to an honorable discharge. If the officer has shown that they have put their best efforts, and at least tried to complete the service honestly, they can be recommended for an honorable discharge certificate.
  • A General Discharge Certificate: issued to officers who have a good performance history, but not good enough to be issued an Honorable Discharge certificate, and not bad enough to be issued a certificate under other than honorable conditions. This certificate is generally issued to an officer when he does not show adequate efforts required to pass academic exams, or displays a defective personality. Officers with substandard performance of duty can also be issued a general discharge certificate.

The same committee that recommends the officer for an administrative separation recommends the type of discharge that the officer will be issued with. The Separation Authority is responsible for determining the type of separation of an officer. Certificate of discharge can only be issued to the officer in question by the Navy Department and not by an independent station or ship. The certificate is to be issued only after separation from service, and not after the officer has been released to active duty.


Attorney Jordan is a qualified professional, who has retained many officers, and has helped them secure an honorable discharge.

If you require an attorney who can properly represent you in the matters of administrative separations, feel free to contact Mr. Joseph L. Jordan, an accomplished military defense attorney.

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Joseph L. Jordan is a UCMJ lawyer who travels around the globe to represent service members in military criminal defense matters. He is an accomplished, experienced military attorney who specializes in defending ALL service members against violations of the UCMJ.