Published July 23, 2012


Typical reasons why a command might wish to initiate an administrative separation from the military you from service include:

  • Drug Abuse Rehabilitation Failure
  • Misconduct
  • Unsatisfactory Performance
  • Weight Management/Health Issues
  • Pregnancy In Enlisted Women
  • Conviction

Before the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, homosexuality was also a reason why soldiers were sought to be separated from service. This is no longer the case.


For entry-level servicepersons, minor infractions can form the basis of a separation. Examples include: 1) inability or lack of reasonable effort or 2) a failure to adapt to the military environment.

Such separations can happen within 3 days of a decision by the authorized Commander. However, entry level personnel are required to be counseled before any action for separation can be initiated. The guidelines clearly note that if you are an entry-level personnel, with less than 181 days of service, you may not be separated unless rehabilitation efforts have failed.


Before you can be separated, you have to be served a written notice. This notice will inform you that you may be separated, the reason behind the possible separation, and the characterization of service recommended. It is optimal if you engage an attorney at this stage itself. As your attorney, Joseph Jordan will help you evaluate the evidence in your favor and advise you of your chances. He will also put together a convincing docket of records, arguments and evidence, which might prevent your discharge altogether.

The characterization of your service has a deep impact on the benefits you receive, and the employment opportunities available to you after your military service. Securing the best possible characterization of your service, at any separation proceeding, is a top priority for Joseph Jordan. He will analyze available evidence, and put together exceptional mitigating arguments, to help you secure the best possible characterization of service.


If the length of your active duty exceeds six years, or if the proposed characterization of your service is to be Other Than Honorable Discharge, your case would be heard before an Administrative Separation Board. An Administrative Separation Board consists of 3 senior members. You are allowed to be represented by an attorney, produce evidence, testify yourself, and bring witnesses. Typically, command presents its own evidence and witnesses at such hearings.

Separation Boards have to operate within defined limits. They must actually find that a majority of the evidence, or the weight of the evidence, warrants your separation. With the right representation, it is likely that your separation itself could be suspended, or the characterization of your service will be favorable.

Administrative Separation from the military occurs in the Army, Navy, Air force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.


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