If you have made your career in the United States Army, you realize that your advancement and promotion possibilities depend on varying factors. One is the Officer Evaluation Report (OER) — an assessment that carries enough weight to deter any further progress up the promotional ladder of the military.
While any officer has a right to appeal a derogatory evaluation, the decision to do so must be carefully strategized and weighed against the possibility that an appeal could potentially worsen your status.
What you may want to let go
Administrative errors occur in the Army and typically won’t merit an appeal. The military takes the position that these minor errors, e.g., incorrect weight/height statuses or signature lapses, should have been noted prior to the reports being signed by the relevant parties.
When challenges can be appropriate
Do you feel that your evaluation was unjust due to conscious or unconscious prejudices or biases on the part of your evaluator? Was something reported inaccurately, or important clarifying information omitted? If so, you might decide to appeal your OER with the Army Special Review Board.
Will your appeal boost or tank your military career?
Should you win your appeal, the comment in question can be eliminated and promotions denied based on the eliminated information could now be reconsidered. But a denied appeal could actually worsen the original evaluation and give it even more gravitas. Be mindful of the Army’s position that OERs continue to be a vital tool that both measures and causes certain behaviors – and act accordingly.
Seeking guidance and learning as much as possible about the appeal process can help to clarify your options.