In addition to mandatory retirement for age or years of service, there are certain circumstances under which officers may be involuntarily discharged from service.
10 U.S. Code § 630: Service Secretaries may discharge any officer on the ADL with less than 6 years of service or any O1 not qualified for promotion to the next grade.
10 U.S. Code § 1161: No commissioned officer may be dismissed from any armed force except because of a court martial or, in time of war, by order of the President.
10 U.S. Code § 1181: SECDEF and Service Secretaries may prescribe procedures and regulations to determine if commissioned officers must show cause for retention on active duty due to substandard performance, misconduct, moral dereliction or because retention is inconsistent with national security interests.
10 U.S. Code § 1184: The Secretary of the military department concerned may remove an officer from active duty if the removal of such officer from active duty is recommended by a board of inquiry.
10 U.S. Code § 1186: At any time when being considered by a board of inquiry, an officer may be granted a request for voluntary retirement, if eligible, or discharge if not eligible for voluntary retirement. In the case of an officer whose case is being considered due to substandard performance, the officer shall be honorably discharged. In cases involving considerations of misconduct, moral dereliction, or national security interests, the officer shall not be honorably discharged. In all cases the discharged officer is entitled to separation pay.
10 U.S. Code § 1201 : Service Secretaries may retire an officer because of a physical disability incurred while the officer was entitled to basic pay. The disability must be permanent and stable, must not be the result of the officer's intentional misconduct or neglect or have been incurred during an unauthorized absence. The officer must have at least 20 years of service or else have at least a 30 percent disability that either 1) was not noted at the time of entrance to active duty; 2) is the proximate result of performing active duty; or 3) was incurred in the line of duty. Eligible officers are members of a regular component of the Armed Forces entitled to basic pay, or any other member of the Armed Forces entitled to basic pay who was called or ordered to active duty for a period of more than 30 days other than for training, or who is on active duty but is not entitled to basic pay due to participation in an educational program or for an emergency purpose. Officers retired under this section of law are eligible for retired pay.
10 U.S. Code § 1202: If other conditions in § 1201 apply, Service Secretaries may put an officer on the temporary disability retired list if the disability is not determined to be permanent and stable but medical principles indicate that it may be permanent.
10 U.S. Code § 1203: Service Secretaries may separate an officer with severance pay if the disability was not the result of the officer's intentional misconduct or neglect or was incurred during an unauthorized absence. Eligible officers are the same as those listed in § 1201, except that the officer does not meet the conditions related to years of service, level of disability, and how the disability was incurred.
10 U.S. Code § 1204: Under certain conditions, Service Secretaries may also retire officers not covered by § 1201, § 1202, or § 1203. Generally, the disability must be permanent and stable, incurred in the line of duty or during related activities (travel, lodging), and must not be the result of the officer's intentional misconduct or neglect or incurred during an unauthorized absence.
10 U.S. Code § 1205: If other conditions in § 1204 apply, Service Secretaries may put an officer on the temporary disability retired list if the disability is not determined to be permanent and stable but medical principles indicate that it may be permanent.
10 U.S. Code § 1206: Service Secretaries may separate an officer not covered under § 1201, § 1202, or § 1203 with severance pay if the disability was not the result of the officer's intentional misconduct or neglect or was incurred during an unauthorized absence. Eligible officers are the same as those listed in § 1204, except that the officer does not meet the conditions related to years of service and level of disability.
DODI 1320.10: Officers who are unqualified for promotion to the grade of O2 are to be discharged. However, such officers are to be retained on the active-duty list (ADL) or reserve active-status list (RASL) for a minimum of 6 months from the date the promotion would have occurred. The officer must be discharged at the end of 18 months from the date the promotion would have occurred unless found qualified for promotion. The officer may be discharged at any time after 6 months if still not qualified for promotion.
DODI 1332.30: It is DOD policy to separate from service officers in the Regular and Reserve Components of the military who are unable to meet standards of duty, performance and integrity. Service Secretaries may discharge officers on the ADL or RASL with less than 6 years of commissioned service when there is a need to reduce the number of officers to meet budgetary or force size requirements.
A commissioned officer may be involuntarily separated if found to be substandard in the following ways: performance of duty, efficiency, leadership, response to training, attitude or character, maintenance of satisfactory progress while in a skills-awarding program, or acts of professional or moral misconduct. A commissioned officer may also be involuntarily separated if retention of that officer is found to be inconsistent with national security interests.
A commissioned officer may also be separated when sentenced by a court-martial to confinement of more than 6 months. An officer may also be dropped from the rolls is he or she has been absent without authority for at least three months, or if an officer has been sentenced to confinement in a federal or State penitentiary or other correctional institution after being found guilty of an offense by a non-military court when that sentence is final.
DODI 1332.18: The standards for disability evaluation will be consistently and equitably applied to all Service members and be uniform within the components within an individual Service. Service members will proceed through wither the Legacy Disability Evaluation System (LDES) or the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES), though it is policy that Service members process through the latter unless the Service Secretary approves the use of the former.
In determining a Service member's disability rating, the Military Department will consider all medical conditions, whether individually or collectively, that render the member unfit to perform the duties of the member's office, grade, rank, or rating. Service members who are eligible for and qualify for military retirement at the time of their evaluation and who are pending separation for unfitness may elect disability separation or retirement for length of service.
The Service Secretaries may authorize separation based on congenital or developmental defects not being compensable under the Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) if defects, circumstances or conditions interfere with assignment to or performance of duty. A Service member will be placed on the TDRL when the member meets the requirements for permanent disability retirement except that the disability is not determined to be stable but may be permanent. Stability is defined as the preponderance of medical evidence indicating that the severity will probably not change within the next three years.
This instruction also contains standards for determining unfitness due to disability or medical disqualification.
Air Force Policy
Implements U.S. Law and DoD Policy. See AR 600-8-24 for details.
Implements U.S. Law and DoD Policy. See SECNAVINST 1920.6D for details.
Marine Corps Policy
Implements U.S. Law and DoD Policy. See SECNAVINST 1920.6C for details.
MCO P1900.16 CH 2: Processing for involuntary administrative separation is mandatory for Service members determined to have committed an offense of child abuse or domestic, intimate partner, and immediate family member abuse as defined in paragraph 1002 of this Manual.
Continuation of Commissioned Officers. The continuation of officers subject to discharge or involuntary retirement is included in DOPMA as a discretionary provision to permit the Services to meet manpower requirements. DOPMA prescribes that continuation boards may be convened at the discretion of the Secretary of the Navy. Officers in the grade of captain and above, subject to discharge or involuntary retirement under pre-DOPMA or DOPMA, may be eligible. An officer not considered or selected will be discharged or retired as prescribed by law. Unless solicited by the CMC, individual requests for selective continuation will not be considered or forwarded. Absent a Marine Corps-wide program, individual requests are filed without further action.
Reserve commissioned officers may be discharged at the pleasure of the President. All Reserve warrant officers may be discharged at the pleasure of the Secretary of the Navy. For additional provisions concerning the separation of Reserve officers see Chapter 4 and reference (av) SECNAVINST 1920.6D. See Chapter 6 of this Manual for separation of enlisted Reservists.