An officer evaluation record, or OER, is important for those who want to move up in the ranks. When you have an OER with negative commentary or ratings, your career as an officer could be threatened.
The thing to remember is that you do have a right to an OER appeal, so you can challenge those negative statements or actions against you. It is reasonable to appeal an OER if you believe that there were errors, inaccuracies or injustices leading to those comments on your record.
When you want to appeal, you will need to do so through a Commander’s or Commandant’s Inquiry.
What should you know about a Commander or Commandant’s Inquiry?
This kind or inquiry, first of all, is not meant to correct differences of opinion about your performance or potential. Instead, it’s intended to address issues such as:
- A lack of objectivity or fairness
- Untrue statements
- Inaccurate statements
- Disqualified rating officials
- Improperly designated rating officials
- Unqualified rating officials
If the inquiry finds that there are errors, the efforts will need to be taken to allow the original rating officials the time to edit their commentary. Usually, they will do this to appear compliant with their Commanders, though there are cases where they will refuse.
If this inquiry doesn’t resolve the problem for you, you may be able to appeal it further.
How long do you have to appeal an OER?
If you want to appeal an OER through a Commander or Commandant’s Inquiry, you’ll have 60 days after the signature date on the document. There are other methods of appealing an OER that may give you more time, however.
Military law can be complex, so it’s not always simple to know what to do or to figure out which processes might be best for your circumstances. OERs are generally presumed to be accurate and just, but they won’t necessarily be. It’s valuable to know your rights and the processes that you can use to appeal commentary that you don’t agree with, so you can protect your career and make sure you are seen through the correct lens in the future.