What to Expect in an Administrative Separation Boards Hearing -

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What to Expect in an Administrative Separation Boards Hearing


An Administrative Separation Boards hearing allows military personnel to defend themselves from losing their service job. Administrative separation is equivalent to firing a civilian from his or her job. Virtually all instances of administrative separation occur when a servicemember violates the terms of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  There are many reasons a servicemember may face an enlistment contract termination before the service obligation ends. Learn about the types of enlistment contract separations and find about enlistment separations boards. Identify some of the reasons you may have to request an Administrative Separation Boards hearing, the process, and what you should do before the interview.

Fighting administrative separation can be difficult if you do not understand the circumstances of your potential termination. If, after reading the article you still have questions about the hearing process, call military attorney Troy A. Smith at (212) 537-4029 to see how our legal team can be of assistance.

Types of enlistment contract separations

As a servicemember, your enlistment contract can end before its expiration date. Your termination depends on the nature of your conduct service record. The types of separations you face area as follows:


A punitive separation usually entails the servicemember facing a court-martial. A court-martial is a judicial hearing that can determine a person’s guilt or innocence in a matter. For instance, others may accuse a servicemember of violating any number of rules or displays of inappropriate conduct on the job. If there is a guilty conviction from the trial, the board chooses the punishment. If the sentence entails termination of the service contract, this is known as a dishonorable discharge.


There are three types of administrative contract separations. See the below for a brief description of each.


As a military servicemember, you met or exceeded the expectations of your post. This includes exceptional performance and conduct throughout your service tenure. An honorable discharge falls under the category of administrative separation because it is not punitive.


A general discharge occurs when a service member performs his or her duties satisfactorily but does not meet all expectations of military personnel conduct. In this case, there is a nonjudicial punishment in place. The servicemember’s discharging officer must provide, in writing, the reason for the discharge. Some examples may include medical inability to perform duties or misconduct.

Depending on the nature of the general discharge, some veterans may not receive all of their expected benefits, such as college tuition coverage through the GI Bill and other amenities for those with an honorable discharge.

Other Than Honorable

Other Than Honorable discharge (OTH) is for servicemembers whose conduct and performance do not meet the expectations set by the military. Someone who undergoes OTH discharge cannot attempt to reenlist in any other branch of the US Armed Forces to continue service.

However, these individuals may receive VA benefits based on their Character of Service Determination (CSD). A person’s ability to maintain VA and other benefits is determined by the VA, their service record, and other factors. Speak to a member of our legal team to discover more details about OTH discharges.

What is an Administrative Separation Board?

An Administrative Separation Board is the process of removing a servicemember from his or her post. This occurs when the discharging officer and the command wish for the servicemember to receive an OTH discharge for his or service.

The board typically comes after the servicemember receives:

  • A nonjudicial punishment
  • A letter of reprimand
  • Negative evaluation

The process begins with an official letter sent to the servicemember in question. If you are facing administrative separation, your commanding officer will issue you a letter that lists:

  • The reason they are seeking separation
  • The recommended characterization of service

If your command grants you a hearing, prepare your case with a military attorney who understands the Administrative Separation Boards hearing process. The board consists of three members who listen to your testimony, your lawyer’s arguments for you, and question witnesses for you and against you. The board then determines whether you may remain a member of the Armed Forces. If they decide separation is fitting, it will either be Honorable, General, or Other Than Honorable.

Your lawyer may want to reach out to witnesses to testify on your behalf before your hearing. Speak to a member of our office today to begin the process.

What are some reasons you may have a hearing in front of the board?

As previously noted, a servicemember may face an Administrative Separation Board due to issues of performance or conduct. More specifically, you may undergo a hearing for allegations of the following:

  • Regular misconduct
  • Drug use
  • Insubordination
  • Weight control issues
  • Failure to perform duties
  • Poor duty performance

Is your command seeking separation? Do you believe the allegations against you are unfounded? Speak to Troy A. Smith, Attorney at Law, PC, by calling (212) 537-4029 today. A military attorney can face the administrative separations board and fight on your behalf.