Administrative investigations are an efficient way for Commanding Officers in the military to maintain order within their ranks. If a military member is accused of doing something unlawful, an administrative investigation can allow both commanders and Judge Advocate General (JAG) officers to investigate the alleged misconduct and deal with it accordingly. There are different sib-types of administrative investigations depending upon the type of matter involved.
RCM 303 Investigations
RCM 303 investigations are preliminary inquiries under Rule for Courts Martial (RCM) 303 of the Manual for Courts Martial. These inquiries are utilized to assist commanders in resolving issues surrounding minor military offenses, which don’t utilize more formal investigations. While a commander can conduct the investigation, he or she can also appoint someone else under his command or a civilian or military investigative agency if the matter at hand is more serious. After the completion of an RCM 303 investigation, the commander will then decide what type of action to take:
- Administrative actions (e.g., reprimands or negative performance reviews);
- Discharge of the individual from the military;
- Pursue non-judicial punishment (NJP);
- Start the court-martial process; or even
- Take no action at all.
Safety and Accident Investigations
If the allegations at hand involve aircrafts, missiles, or other military equipment, a safety and accident investigation is opened. This type of investigation is intended to prevent the same mishap from happening again. Examples of issues that safety and accident investigations involve include:
- Accidents involving firearms
- Aircraft accidents
- The stranding or flooding of ships
Safety Investigation Boards (SIB) are given the freedom to come to a conclusion quickly, offering recommendations for how to correct the issue. The conclusion that the SIB comes to is then included in a report that is released to the public.
An Accident Investigation Board (AIB) has the job of gathering evidence for potential action against any military members who were involved in the incident. The AIB leverages the evidence collected by the SIB.
Line of Duty Investigations
A line of duty (LOD) investigation is used for establishing what a military member’s duty status was at the time that an injury, disability, illness, or death occurs. This is important because it has an impact on which benefits the member is entitled to. It also determines which liabilities the servicemember may face. It’s important to note that LOD investigations are not used for establishing disciplinary actions. If a servicemember is on active duty, he or she may not be denied medical treatment based on the investigation’s results regardless of what those results are.
LOD investigations commence with an illness, disease, or injury of a service member occurs if it results in the following:
- Medical treatment;
- Inability to perform military duties for at least 24 hours;
- High likelihood that a service member will apply for incapacitation pay;
- High likelihood that a service member will suffer a permanent disability; or
- Death of a service member.
Financial Liability Investigations of Property Loss
The circumstances of the loss, damage, or destruction of government property is looked into with a Financial Liability Investigation of Property Loss (FLIPL). An individual or entity may be charged with financial liability for the aforementioned, or relieved of such liability. An FLIPL may be initiated if it meets the following:
- The cause of the loss, damage, or destruction is suspected to be negligence or willful misconduct
- The property value in question is reasonably high
- The property at hand involved public funds or other negotiables
- The loss, damage, or destruction was the result of theft, a fire, or a natural disaster
- The property at hand involved a change of the accountable officer’s inventory
- The loss, damage, or destruction occurred in combat and the equipment is considered abandoned, captures, or physically lost
- The military member who was involved will not sign DD Form 362
Command Directed Investigations
When a matter isn’t handled by a more specific administrative investigation, it is handled with a command directed investigation (CDI). CDIs allow for the discovery of evidence prior to taking any disciplinary action. To initiate a CDI, the commander must appoint an officer-member of the command to act as Investigating Officer (IO), who must discover the facts and weigh any evidence using a preponderance of the evidence standard. The IO must also establish a Report of Investigation and fill in the commander on what he or she has found and what is recommended. The commander then decides if the allegation holds water and may choose to seek the help of law enforcement or begin the court-martial process.
The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Been Charged with a Crime
The U.S. Government has an interest in obtaining a conviction as soon as possible, as it does not wish to gain negative publicity about one of its service members. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible. If you are a military service member and have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!