As a service member, you protect the rights of others, but there are times when guarding your own rights take precedence.
If you receive a notice to appear before a board of inquiry, you must defend your rights, your reputation and your military career. Are you prepared to face the officers who will determine the outcome of this hearing?
The board of inquiry
A board of inquiry is an administrative procedure in the form of a hearing to determine whether the respondent, or the officer required to appear, should continue on active duty. The respondent may have committed a disciplinary offense, or an incident may have occurred that soiled his or her reputation.
The Secretary of the department that relates to the respondent and the issue at hand will convene the board of inquiry. The board must consist of at least three officers who are senior in rank to the respondent.
If you are the respondent, you may have legal guidance to assist in presenting your case. The board will investigate the matter that prompted the hearing and review your military career thus far. You must show cause why the military should retain you on active duty.
If the board members find that you have not given sufficient reason as to why you should continue on active duty, they may require you to take leave once you receive the written report of your case. You can either provide a rebuttal to the report or take leave until such time as the Secretary determines you may return to active duty.
The need to appear at the board of inquiry could harm your prospects and adversely affect your ability to advance in your career. The worst result of the hearing would involve your separation from the military with Other Than Honorable Discharge. Remember that you deserve protection for your rights, and the goal of your defense is to achieve the best outcome possible.