The Department of the Air Force has a maze of administrative review boards which can be difficult to navigate. Understanding the different boards, their functions, and the type of relief that can be granted is critical for Airmen seeking to correct their official military record.
MJA has successfully helped service members correct errors and injustices in their military records. If you need relief from one of the Army’s administrative review boards, contact us today for your free consultation.
AIR FORCE REVIEW BOARDS
The Air Force Review Boards Agency (AFRBA) manages multiple military and civilian processes through the Secretary of the Air Force. The AFRBA has multiple boards which service members can apply to, including:
TYPES AND FUNCTION OF REVIEW BOARDS
Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records (AFBCMR): The AFBCMR reviews applications for correction of military records of Air Force members (Regular, Guard, and Reserve) or former Airmen.
Air Force Discharge Review Board (AFDRB): The AFDRB’s objective is to review an applicant’s discharge to determine whether the characterization of service, reason for discharge, and re-enlistment code should be changed for reasons of propriety or equity.
Personnel Security Appeal Board: The PSAB adjudicates appeals of security eligibility/clearance withdrawals by the Air Force Central Adjudication Facility to determine if eligibility should be reinstated or if the appeal should be denied.
DoD Physical Disability Board of Review: The PDBR reviews applications by personnel that received a disability rating of 20% or less from all services between September 11, 2001, and December 31, 2009.
Review Boards Office at Randolph AFB, Texas: Processes applications for correction of military records for the AFBCMR, DRB, and the PDBR.
The Executive Support Office (MRBE): Provides administrative, communication, IT, personnel and logistic support for all directorates within the Agency.
Secretary of the Air Force Personnel Council (SAFPC): The SAFPC acts for, recommends to, and announces decisions on behalf of SECAF for a variety of military personnel issues. SAFPC is comprised of five (5) boards:
Air Force Civilian Appellate Review Office: The AFCARPO adjudicates discrimination complaints and administrative grievances filed by civilian employees and applicants filed against the Air Force.
AIR FORCE DISCHARGE REVIEW BOARD
The AFDRB is probably one of the most, if the the most, commonly petitioned board by Air Force veterans. That’s because the AFDRB’s objective is to review an applicant’s discharge to determine whether the characterization of service, reason for discharge, and re-enlistment code should be changed for reasons of propriety or equity.
You see, not all discharge decisions are inherently final. Pursuant to federal law, each military branch maintains a Discharge Review Board (DRB) which meets regularly to review submissions and hear oral arguments in favor of applicants. Veterans seeking a discharge upgrade must petition their respective DRB within 15 years from their military discharge if they want their discharge reviewed.
Former members of the Air force, Air National Guard, or Air Force Reserve discahrged within the last 15 years may apply. If the service member was discharged more than 15 years ago, the AFDRB will not accept the application and the veteran must apply directly to the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records to seek a review of their discharge
To apply, applicants must submit a completed DD Form 293 form containing the veteran’s personal information, requested correction, justification for the request, and whether they are requesting an in person hearing, among other information. Applicants may attach as evidence documents in support of their application. Applicants may request a “records only” review where the Board considers available military personnel records, medical records (if relevant) and documentary evidence provided by the applicant. Otherwise, an applicant may request a personal appearance before the Board.
There is no such thing as an automatic discharge upgrade due to the passage of time. The burden of proof rests with the applicant to show either an error or injustice that would justify the DRB to grant a discharge upgrade of provide other relief. Absent evidence to the contrary, the DRB will presume presume that the military record was appropriate and in compliance with service regulations.
AIR FORCE BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS
The other most commonly used board is the AFBCMR, which can provide even greater relief to qualifying veterans.
The AFBCMR is the highest administrative level of appeal within the Air Force and is empowered to correct any error or injustice to a veteran’s military records. Such records may include, but are not limited to, records regarding discharges, reenlistment codes, disciplinary matters, performance evaluations, selection for promotion, advancement, retirement, dates of service, disability ratings, medals, and various bonuses and benefits.
Current and former members of the Air Force may apply for a correction of an error or removal of an injustice in their official military record. If a former service member is deceased or incompetent, the member’s spouse, widow or widower, next of kin (parent, sibling, or child), or legal representative can apply for the service member.
Before applying the AFBCMR, the applicant must first exhaust all available avenues of administrative relief provided by existing law or regulations prior to seeking relief before this Board. Examples of Boards which provide administrative relief that must be exhausted before applying to the AFBCMR include:
Additional resources and personnel programs exist for service members to consult before applying to the AFBCMR about routine updates to the personnel records.
To apply, applicants must submit a completed DD149 form containing the veteran’s personal information, requested correction, justification for the request, and date and time when the alleged error or injustice was discovered, among other information. Applicants may attach as evidence documents in support of their application.
The burden of proof to show either an error or injustice rests with the applicant. Absent evidence to the contrary, the BCMRs will presume presume that the military record was appropriate and in compliance with service regulations. Applicants can request a personal appearance before the Boards, but are not entitled to a hearing.
BOARDS OF REVIEW “READING ROOMS”
The Department of Defense requires an “Electronic Reading Room” for the Military Departments’ Boards for the Corrections of Military/Naval Records and the Discharge Review Boards. The reading room contains decisions for each of the Boards from October 1998 to the present for public research. Applicants intending to file a petition with ARBA should search the “Reading Room” for decisional documents which may be helpful to their petition.
The “Reading Room” also contains board statistics. These statistics track the number and type of applications filed, whether the petitions involve claims of mental health or sexual assault, and in what percentage of cases the boards granted relief.
CONTACT US TODAY
MJA has successfully helped service members correct errors and injustices in their military records. If you believe you may be entitled to relief, contact us today for your free consultation.