Enlisted Soldiers with 20+ Years To Rank Reduction Following Misconduct Instead of Administrative Separation

Enlisted Soldiers with 20+ Years To Rank Reduction Following Misconduct Instead of Administrative Separation

In response to a new Army policy, enlisted soldiers with at least 20 years of service who have been separated from active duty due to misconduct may have reason to breathe easier. The Army policy for separations of enlisted personnel has been published in Army Directive 2021-29. As a result of this change, commanders will apply greater flexibility to punishing career soldiers.

In a recent announcement, Gerald Conway, a senior official in command of the Army G-1 Policy Office, insisted that the new policy was a step towards giving soldiers more options. He added that the directive ends the "all or nothing" rule.

An enlisted military member had a limited number of options when deciding on an administrative separation because of misconduct. Conway stated in his announcement that discharged soldiers previously could receive a year-long suspension or retire with their current grade.

The statement noted that rank reductions instead of a discharge for misconduct could benefit soldiers' post-military opportunities for employment. It also will allow those soldiers to still retain their federal retirement benefits.

According to the announcement, a soldier can now request a reduction in grade voluntarily or involuntarily. The reduction can be to any grade equivalent to - or higher than - the last at which the soldier served satisfactorily. Conway said that all soldiers facing involuntary grade reductions would be given written notification and afforded the right to legal counsel.

The rank reduction notice would be sent to all soldiers within 10 calendar days, and active-duty soldiers would have 30 calendar days to respond. This policy will apply to all enlisted service members in the Army Reserve, National Guard and active-duty Army.

Army officers involved in cases of misconduct had already been given the opportunity to retire at a reduced rank.